Former Nikiski homesteader Galen Edward Gray died suddenly Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. He was 83.
He was born Oct. 26, 1917, in Parnell, Mo. He was a World War II veteran with the Army Corps of Engineers, building bridges in India.
After he left the service, he worked in Alaska for the Alaska Railroad building bridges between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Mr. Gray married Charlotte Ann Rahl in November 1947. They became homesteaders in Nikiski in 1948. As he continued to work in construction, he opened Tanglewood Supply Co. in Nikiski, originally out of his home. In the next 15 years, it eventually grew to a separate location and a full-time job for the entire family.
The Grays left Alaska in 1971 and lived in Abilene, Texas, and Cascade, Mont. His wife died in 1983. After her death, Mr. Gray returned to Alaska and worked as a route driver for the Anchorage Daily News.
Mr. Gray moved to Vashon Island, Wash., to live with his daughter Karma Van Gelder and his grandson Ian Van Gelder in 1995. He lived there at the time of his death.
Mr. Gray was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte.
He is survived by his sons Gary E. Gray of Vashon Island and Arle R. Gray of Anchorage; daughters Maryam House of Anchorage, Karma Van Gelder of Vashon Island, Sabia A. Nichols and her husband, Kenneth, of Belfair, Wash., Tawna G. Van Allen of Abilene, Texas, and Tami Gray of Houston, Texas; grandchildren Harry F. House III, Christa D. House, Jory L. Pai, Savita S. Gilbert, Jaison S. Pai, Ian F. Van Gelder, Galen Van Allen, Keysia Van Allen, Jerica Van Allen, Natasha Rogers and Jaiven House; and great-grandchild Avery M. Gilbert.
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