Longtime Alaska resident and homesteader Herrick Alfred "Al" Poore died Friday, Dec. 10, 2004, at home attended by his family. He had lived for 16 years with Huntington's chorea which finally contributed to his death.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 17, at Kenai United Methodist Church. Burial will follow the service at the Spruce Grove Memorial Park Cemetery on Kalifornsky Beach Road with military honors provided by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 10046 and the American Legion Post No. 20. A reception will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center following the burial.
Mr. Poore was born in 1918, the second son of four children born to homesteading parents Blanch lone Swarts and Walter Ernest Poor in Cut Bank, Mont. When he was 2, the family returned to farming near Kasson, Minn. He remembered riding to the one-room country school through bitter prairie snowstorms in a horse drawn sleigh wrapped in a buffalo robe blanket.
His childhood was full of family and the farm. He told stories of the three brothers getting into trouble for shooting the wild farm cats. And they caused mischief by setting corn on fire. During one expedition, the boys managed to get baby skunks trapped in a road culvert but hadn't planned on their self-defense.
In 1942, Mr. Poore was working as a carpenter throughout the Southwest, then living and working in California when he was drafted and returned to Minneapolis and Fort Snelling. Basic training was at Camp Grant, Ill., then on to New York to ride the Queen Elizabeth I to Scotland and the train into England, where he was assigned to the 51st Medical Battalion serving as an ambulance driver. He saw action in the North African campaign at Oran, Algiers; then on to Sicily, Palermo and Naples.
Upon discharge in 1945, Mr. Poore worked in Minneapolis before going to Seattle and Alaska. He worked building Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base and built his own home in East Anchorage. In 1951, he returned to Minnesota, where he and Virginia Ann Schanke were married on July 21, 1951. They honeymooned up the Alaska Highway. They lived in Anchorage until 1952, when they moved to Kenai. Their daughter, Deborah, was born in 1953 and Melissa in 1956. They homesteaded Eagle Rock Ridge in 1957; their son, Tracy, was born in 1960.
Mr. Poore's construction time included working on White Alice stations on the Distant Early Warning Line, many area schools, a short stint on Shemya in the Aleutian Islands and industrial commercial construction around the Kenai area. He helped build the Kenai Methodist Church.
During this time, he and Virginia raised their family, built their home, enjoyed their homestead and developed the Kenai River access for fishers at Eagle Rock.
Mr. and Mrs. Poore are charter members of the Kenai United Methodist Church and belonged to the North Kenai Community Club. He also was a member of the Carpenters Local, the VFW, Elks, American Legion, Eagles and the Pioneers of Alaska No. 33.
In 1960, Mr. Poore contracted hepatitis and was sick for nearly two years, spending time in the military hospital in Anchorage. He later worked as acting postmaster and managed Woodland Housing Development for Union Oil Company. He enjoyed raising a family, hunting, fishing, reading, playing pinochle, visiting relatives in the Midwest, Washington and Canada and his grandchildren.
"He was well loved and will be greatly missed," his family said.
Mr. Poore was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Roger Lynn Poore; sister, Audrey lone Book; and close friends Carl Seaman, Milton McCaughey, Ed Hollier and Henry Christiansen.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Virginia Poore; daughters, Debbie Poore and her husband, Charlie Gibson of Homer, Lisa Eierman and her husband, Bob Eierman, of Eau Claire, Wis., and son, Tracy Poore of Kenai; brother, Ernest Russell Poore of Perham, Minn.; grandchildren, Natalie, Lauren and Rachel Eierman, McKenzie McCarthy and Elias Gibson; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and nephews; and close friends Lester Borgen, Wally Van Sky, Elsie Seaman, Joanna Hollier and Betty Christiansen.
Memorial contributions may be given in Mr. Poore's name to the United Methodist Church of Kenai and the Kenai Senior Citizens Center. Cards may be sent to the family at: Virginia Poore, 4300 Eagle Rock Drive, Kenai, AK 99611.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.
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