Joseph Arthur Kurtz


Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

Joseph Arthur Kurtz died Friday, Aug. 29, 2003, at Providence Alaska Medical Center of natural causes. He was 93.

A visitation will be held at 9 a.m. today at Kehl's Forest Lawn Chapel in Anchorage. A service will follow at 11 a.m. A graveside service will be held in Seldovia at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Seldovia Cemetery.

Mr. Kurtz was born Oct. 31, 1909, in Monico, Wis., to Joseph and Ella Orth Kurtz. He completed high school.

Mr. Kurtz moved to Alaska in the late 1930s and was a resident of Seldovia and Anchorage.

He was an avid reader, a trapper and a miner.

"Upon reading Jack London's book, 'The Call of the Wild,' Mr. Kurtz was inspired to venture to Alaska. Arriving in the late '30s, Joe initially worked at Lucky Shot Mine. He also trapped in the Yukon with his brother, Erwin, and Crockett Metcalfe. He worked construction on the White Alice project and helped to build Fort Richardson. Mr. Kurtz then started commercial fishing with his brother, Erwin, and brother-in-law, Jack Lewis, in the late '40s. He fished salmon, halibut and finally king crab, before retiring from the Bering Sea fishery in the '90s," his family wrote.

"Mr. Kurtz was a very generous person who enjoyed good physical and mental health. He maintained a home and a boat in Seldovia, where he lived and worked out of for the past 50 years. He also kept homes in Anchorage and Seattle. He exemplified the true Alaska pioneer spirit in his independence and character."

Mr. Kurtz was preceded in death by his sister, Genie Lewis; brother-in-law, Jack Lewis; and brother, Erwin Kurtz.

He is survived by his wife, Olivia Kurtz; stepdaughters, Cheryl, Diane and Beverley Davis; sister-in-law, Vivian Kurtz of Anchorage; and nephews and nieces, Steve and Barbara and Jason Lewis of Kenai, Dan Kurtz and family of Seattle and Art, Becky and Richard Kurtz and their families, all of Anchorage.

Arrangements were made by Kehl's Forest Lawn Mortuary in Anchorage.

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