Longtime Kasilof resident Irvin "Irv" Evenson died peacefully at home on Sunday, March 28, 2010, surrounded by his family. He was 96.
A celebration of his life will take place later this summer and his ashes scattered near the Kasilof River, where he enjoyed dipnetting and fishing.
His family states, "Those who knew Irv will never forget his zeal for life and love for Alaska. His family misses him very much, but his bright spirit won't ever leave us."
Mr. Evenson was born on March 16, 1914 in Minong, Wis. He graduated from high school in the midst of the Depression, and spent three years working with the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1936, he joined friends who had settled at the Matanuska Colony near Palmer. There, he worked for the Alaska Road Commission and the Alaska Railroad, and helped to build the original McKinley Park Hotel near Denali as well as Fort Richardson and Elemendorf military bases in Anchorage. Mr. Evenson began his longtime commercial fishing career aboard the sailboats in Bristol Bay.
In 1939, he returned to Wisconsin to visit family, where he met his future bride, Mildred Cox, on a blind date. The following September, she joined him in Alaska and they were married shortly after she arrived in Anchorage, in 1940.
In 1943, they bought 40 acres in the Sand Lake area of Anchorage, began Evenson's Sand Lake Potatoes and raised three boys along with the potatoes. Mr. Evenson retired from farming in 1967, moved the family to Kasilof and returned full-time to commercial fishing -- this time in Cook Inlet, where he fished with his sons until his retirement in 1986. Irv and Mildred spent 30 winters in South Texas, where Mr. Evenson won the Texas State Shuffleboard Championship in 1995, at age 81.
Mr. Evenson loved to travel, spending time in Europe, India, China, South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Far East. Mr. Evenson also enjoyed driving his motorhome across the United States and flying his Super Cub until age 75. At home, he kept his nightly cribbage dates with Mildred, and never rested in his ongoing quest to eradicate dandelions from his property.
Mr. Evenson was preceded in death by his parents, brother, and three sisters.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Mildred, of Kasilof; sons and daughters-in-law, Richard and Jean Evenson, Robert and Kathleen Evenson and Daniel and Jane Evenson of Kasilof; sisters, Celestine Malloy and Gertrude Bramer of Mercedes, Texas; granddaughters, Carleen Ducker and husband, Aaron, Liane Glick and husband Robert, Sarah Evenson and Mackenzie Evenson of Kasilof; Carey Evenson of Seattle; and Amy Ten Broeck and husband, Erik, of Portland, Ore; and great-grandchildren Ashton Ducker, Corey Ducker, Reuben Glick and Madison Glick of Kasilof.
Donations may be made in memory of Mr. Evenson to The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, 33955 Community College Drive, Soldotna, AK 99669.
Arrangements made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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