|Courtesy Juneau Empire|
Robert DeArmond will be remembered for being a passionate and dedicated journalist and historian, and for his contributions to Alaska’s historical records. He died November 26 at the age of 99.
DeArmond was born in Sitka, where he attended school. He also went to school in Tacoma, Wash., and graduated from Stadium High School in 1930. It wasn’t long before he started his writing career with his first newspaper job at the Stroller’s Weekly in Juneau.
After the newspaper was sold, DeArmond made a rowboat voyage from Sitka to Tacoma, which he wrote about later in, A Voyage in a Dory: From Sitka to Tacoma by Oars, Sail and Tow Rope.
He attended college at the University of Oregon for a year before returning to Sitka to work in the fishing industry.
DeArmond married Dale Burlison in 1935 and had a son, William, in 1938, and a daughter, Jane, in 1940. During this time, he was part of the first crew that went from Sitka to Chichagof Island in 1938 to build a cold storage plant and found the town of Pelican. He wore many hats while he was there, working as a storekeeper, bookkeeper and postmaster.
In 1944, he moved his family to Ketchikan to report for the Alaska Fishing News, which later became the Ketchikan Daily News. He also wrote columns and books, and reported for other newspapers. Many of his works are archived in the Juneau-Douglas City Museum’s Digital Bob project.
“Digital Bob was created to recognize the extensive achievements of one of Alaska’s premier historians and to make some of his writings more accessible to the public,” said Addison Field, curator of collections and exhibits at the
Juneau-Douglas City Museum, “His contribution to the written history of the region is immeasurable.”
DeArmond loved researching and writing about fishing, mining, wildlife, the fur trade, and timber. He wrote about many historic moments in Alaska’s history, including the founding of Juneau. In addition to his writing career he worked as a researcher for the Alaska Historical Library.
He co-founded Alaska Northwest Publishing Co. and owned and edited the Alaska Sportsman, now Alaska magazine. He also edited the Alaska Journal, served on the Alaska Historical Society board of directors, was a Alaska Historical Commission member, and contributor to the Alaska State Library Historical Collections.
Thomas Busch, 63, died Nov. 1. He arrived in Nome in 1970 as a
Jesuit volunteer Busch designed and supervised the construction and wiring of the KNOM radio station’s first AM transmitter and broadcast studios. In 1975, he became the general manager of KNOM, and later the station engineer and fundraiser.
Carl Carlson, 79, died Nov. 8. He was born near Chignik Lagoon and lived with relatives in Perryville, where he learned the subsistence way of life. Carlson was a fisherman and skipper. He was also an accomplished musician who played accordion and guitar.
Carl Elmer Carlson, 97, died Oct. 16. During World War II, he was stationed in the Pribilof Islands and in Dutch Harbor with the Alaska Scouts. Carlson worked as a miner, logger and commercial fisherman.
Kenneth H. Daniels, 78, died Feb. 13. He was born in Ketchikan, and served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1957 at Fort Richardson. Daniels worked for Alaska Helicopters, the Alaska Department of Public Safety and MarkAir. He was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska and OX5 Aviation Pioneers.
Howard Elliot, 80, died Oct. 1. In 1952, he came to Alaska with the Coastal Geodetic Survey Team. He married a nurse in Bethel, and they had two children. Elliot was Bethel’s first elected mayor. He started Elliott’s Fuel Transfer Service, Kuskokwim Packing Co., Bethel’s first fish-packing plant, and United Transportation Inc.
Evelyn Sampson Valentine, 103, died Nov. 6. She spent
the majority of her life in Ketchikan, where she worked, married and raised three children. Valentine was an avid member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, the
Order of Eastern Star and the United Methodist Church.
Nada Dee Watts, 77, died Oct. 1. In 1974 she married William L. Watts, the love of her life, and they moved to Anchorage. She spent summers at her cabin in Glennallen that she helped build, where she enjoyed watching loons, and growing flowers and vegetables.
Notices are limited, because of space, to names of those who have achieved pioneer status through many years in the North, or who have made significant contributions to the state. Submissions for End of the Trail may be sent to email@example.com.