Philip Theodore Ames


Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2002

Kenai resident Philip Theodore Ames died in his home Thursday, Sept. 19, 2002. He was 80.

A celebration of his life will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at 1115 Wells Way in Kenai. Friends are invited to attend the informal gathering.

Mr. Ames was born to John and Edith (Greenough) Ames on Nov. 3, 1921, in Lewiston, Idaho. He had three brothers, Robert, Jinks and Richard, and a sister, Mildred. His pioneering family moved to Alaska when he was about 2, settling briefly in Kukak, a clam cannery on the Alaska Peninsula near Kodiak. The family moved to Anchorage in 1926. Mr. Ames and his siblings were all involved in early Alaska aviation.

Mr. Ames was raised to a life of early Alaska adventure. He was hunting and exploring the upper Kenai Peninsula at an early age. He made lifelong friends, whom he never lost contact with. At 15, he spent one memorable night floating around Cook Inlet on a log with his friend Stanley Aho.

In 1943, Mr. Ames joined the Army in the 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper. He served in the Pacific arena and was on his way to Japan when peace was declared. He was among the first occupying forces in Japan. He was the recipient of several medals and honors and was a member of the American Legion and the Fraternal Order of Alaska State Troopers.

Shortly after his return to Anchorage, Mr. Ames met Betty Anne Woods, daughter of Roy and Annie Woods, who settled in Alaska in 1941. He and Betty married Dec. 1, 1946, in Anchorage. Mr. Ames was working for the fire control service at the time. They started a family, and in 1949, Mr. Ames joined a small intrepid group of Territorial Highway Policemen, under the leadership of Capt. Wes Gilman. Mr. Ames was stationed in the Copper River Valley and based in Gakona. This organization would later be called Alaska Highway Patrol. Mr. Ames held badge No. 12.

In 1951, Mr. Ames moved his family to Kenai, and in 1954 he accepted a position as deputy U.S. marshal. Shortly after, he and Betty found a homestead site on Beaver Creek. They moved their growing family there in 1957. Mr. Ames enjoyed teaching his family the skills he learned as a child. He passed along his knowledge of boating, hunting and exploring. There were frequent trips on the Kenai River, days at Skilak and Tustumena lakes and longer runs to the west side of Cook Inlet.

Mr. Ames often worked away from home doing remote seasonal work and tried his hand at commercial fishing. He got his PA-12 in 1974, although he had been a pilot for many years. He spent many happy hours exploring the area he loved so much and delighted in sharing it with his family.

"He was a teller of great tales and loved to spend time with his friends at the 'coffee shop,' solving the problems of the world. He read constantly and entertained those who knew him with poetry and songs. His natural musical gifts have been passed along throughout the family. He will always be remembered for his deep love and appreciation of Alaska and its beauty, bounty and mystery," his family said.

Mr. Ames was preceded in death by his son, Warren Ames.

He is survived by his wife, Betty; children and their spouses, Brad and Memory Ames, Marty Ames Ellis, Kathy and Wiley Stewart, Brannon Ames and Judy Hummel; grandchildren, Dawne Ames, Gable and wife, Brooke, Ames, Rachel Ames, Mandy Ames, Eve Ellis-Carlson and husband, Leif, Annie Ellis, Gavin and Cadence Stewart and Ella and Lydia Ames; and great-grandchildren, Gaeden, Hailey and Trinity Ames.

Arrangements were by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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