Former Valdez city councilman dead of cancer

Posted: Monday, May 22, 2000

VALDEZ (AP) -- Former city councilman Tom Van Brocklin has died after a nine-month battle with cancer. He was 50.

Van Brocklin was diagnosed in August 1999 after a tumor was found on his jaw. He was treated in Seattle and died May 9 in Sparks, Nev.

Van Brocklin relocated late last year, spending time with his brother in Nevada and at a relative's house in Palm Springs, Calif., where he underwent further treatment.

''He was a really wonderful guy. He was really at peace at the end of it,'' said Patrick Van Brocklin. He said he would bring his brother's ashes home to Cordova on July 8 for a memorial service. Van Brocklin's ashes will be scattered in Prince William Sound.

Van Brocklin was born in Oregon, but was raised in Cordova. He arrived in Valdez in the early 1980s when John Devens, former Valdez mayor and current executive director of the Regional Citizens Advisory Council, was trying to get Prince William Sound Community College up and running.

Van Brocklin joined the staff and taught several courses. College President Jody McDowell said Van Brocklin started the successful Elderhostel program and other programs that focused on the history of the sound and Valdez.

''No one could ever measure his value to this community,'' McDowell said. ''He was a true citizen of Prince William Sound.''

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