Monday, February 13, 2012

Windy Skaflestad

While much of the world is mourning the loss of Whitney Houston, Hoonah is mourning the loss of one of our long time residents, Windy Skaflestad. I attended a memorial service for him yesterday in the old school gym. The fact that the gym was filled pretty much to capacity is evidence of the impact that Windy had on so many people, not just here in Hoonah, but around the state. He worked throughout  the state  as a construction supervisor for the U.S. Public Health Service and after his retirement, put in several terms as mayor of Hoonah. He was as tenacious as a bulldog when it came to pursuing funding for various projects that would benefit the citizens of Hoonah. I always enjoyed talking to Windy- he'd take time out to speak to you no matter what he had going on. His family has an intimate knowledge of Port Frederick and the surrounding area, and periodically he'd share some of his fishing secrets with me. I did an interview with him a few years ago for an upcoming book on the local fishermen, and I'm so glad that I have his story to share with those who might want to get a glimpse into how Hoonah used to be. He started working in his father's logging camp when he was eleven, running Caterpillar equipment and later left high school to run the camp after his father was injured. He lived a full life, though it ended much too soon. According to his obituary, he died less than 100 feet from the home where he was born. His final words were "This was fun."  He'll surely be missed by all of his friends and family. It's hard to say goodbye but the sun has set on his life here and he's left for his next adventure. Good fishing Windy.

8 comments:

  1. Wow, sounds like he lead quite a life, those are great last words too! Good blog as usual dad! Love you!

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  2. Hi Autumn- yeah, he lived a lot in 75 years. Of course at the memorial service you hear some of the other things that you never knew about the person. Windy used to plant daisies wherever he was working on a project around the state, so when we went into the gym, along with the little paper about him, everyone was given a package of daisies. It was a unique memorial. More than a few people got up and mentioned that whenever he went somewhere for a job, he always hired the local help, and was always fair to everyone. It was a pretty good testimony about him.

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  3. Great word about Windy! I had goose bumps reading it! Makes me want to live a great life.

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  4. Great word about Windy! I had goose bumps reading it! Makes me want to live a great life.

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  5. Hi Daren or Nathan, whichever of you who wrote. Thanks for the comment.Yeah, Windy had a pretty full life. At the memorial there were a number of people who got up to mention how much they enjoyed working with him. It's a good testimony for sure.

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  6. Such a loss to the community...but such a fond memory he left with all who knew him;-)

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  7. Tom, thanks again for the autographed copy of your new book "The Greybeards", just finished it and I knew all the fishermen and some of the stories. I'm glad though that you took the time to capture these stories and weave them into a cohesive, entertaining story. Another good job!
    ~Windy's wife: Joyce

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  8. You're welcome Joyce. I'm sorry Windy wasn't around to read it. Thanks for commenting.

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