Dean John Weeden
Dean John Weeden, 82, passed away Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at St. Mary’s Senior Living in Eureka.
He was born Nov. 7, 1930, in Lynn, Mass., to Dagny Thoresen and John Sven Weeden (Widen).
From age 5 to 17 he lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his mother and step-father, Ole Olsen.
His curiosity and the pleasure he experienced exploring the natural world led him on many adventures. When he was a young boy he took the train out to Long Island to fish and hitchhiked with his fishing pole around upstate New York. He said he always got good rides when he had his pole.
Dean hopped a train out West when he was 17 years old, launching his first job in the Forest Service doing seasonal work in Idaho.
In 1951 he served in the Air Force as a surgery technician for the 452 Bomb Wing stationed at K-9 Korea near Pusan.
After the war he worked as a smoke jumper and earned a bachelor of forestry from the University of Montana in Missoula. When he finished school he went to Petersburg, Alaska, where he moved from junior forester to district ranger in less than four years.
His 33 year career with the Forest Service included his work as a ranger in the North Tongass National Forest and the Kootenai National Forest and as recreation and lands staff officer to the Stikine Area in the Tongass National Forest.
Dean was active in the Petersburg community, including serving on the harbor board and successfully lobbying for a new harbor. He was involved in the Rotarian, Elks and Moose organizations and could always be counted on to help with the salmon feed for the May 17 Norwegian Independence Day celebration.
He loved building boats, and he built over 13, including a 28 foot fishing boat, a sailboat and several sea kayaks. You always knew that it was hard to find a decent pair of scissors at his house because they often ended up out in the garage dulled and gooped up from fiberglass.
After retirement he launched a second career as a shrimper and spent many hours setting and hauling shrimp pots on his boat, the Seaweeden IV, while listening to classical music. He often talked about how the sea lions, which popped their heads up near the boat, seemed to be listening to the music too.
One of his favorite places was Grief Island in Duncan Canal, where he and his lifetime friends and companions, Jeannie and Roald Norheim, spent decades doing “improvement” projects on the cabin.
In 2008 Dean moved down to Canada near Eureka and enjoyed living with his daughter Kristina and her family for a year. The last four years he lived at St. Mary’s in Eureka. The family is grateful to Stephanie Jarvis and the staff at St. Mary’s for their loving care of Dean. He kept his sense of humor throughout his life. When his caregiver recently introduced the lift they needed to use to transport him he said, “it’s like I’m a big crab pot.”
Dean was married to Lydia (Thompson) Weeden for 14 years. They had four children.
He is survived by daughter Youpa (Laurie) Stein, son-in-law Karl Stein, grandson Kai Stein; son Robert Weeden, daughter-in-law Melanie Millhorn, granddaughters Ashley Winton and her husband Evan Winton and Chelsea Weeden; daughter Kristina Proudfoot, son-in-law Phillip Proudfoot, granddaughter Ody Loomis and her husband Mark Loomis, grandsons Derek Larson, Kurtis and Dustin Proudfoot; and son Lance Weeden and his partner Dawn Merrit He leaves behind many friends, including his extended Alaska family, the Norheims. He will be deeply missed by the many people who loved him.
In lieu of flowers memorials can be sent to either Sons of Norway Fedrelandet, #23, PO Box 629, Petersburg, Alaska 99833 or the Smokejumper Welfare Fund, Aerial Fire Depot, 5765 W. Broadway St., Missoula, Montana 59808.
A memorial service will be held in Petersburg, Alaska, at a later date.
Arrangements are by Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home in Eureka.