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Secrist, Robert & Carolyn (Betty)

by Richard Secrist

My name is Richard Secrist. I am the son of Carolyn (Betty) and Robert Secrist. My family moved to Juneau in 1946. We first lived on Basin Road. In the first year, we got a five acre homestead five miles south of Juneau. At that time the road ended at Sheep Creek, four miles south of Juneau. We had to walk the Dupont trail for a mile carrying every board and other building materials to build our house.

After building the house, along with the other property owners, we cleared the right of way for electric poles to get electricity and built our own road, which at that time dead ended at our house for several years until the Bureau of Public Roads took over the road, improving and extending it another mile or so. We were the first family on the uphill side of the trail (no beach access) to live out there for many years.

My father came to Juneau to be the produce manager at the 20th Century Supermarket. He later worked for the Federal Government, retiring from the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in 1972. My mother later worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Government Hospital and then the Civil Service Board.

My parents divorced in 1959. My father later married Cleone Culp. She was an employee of the BIA. They retired to Pennsylvania and then Florida. My father passed away in 1994, and Cleone still resides in Leesburg, Florida. My mother married Les Linehan. He was the owner of Juneau Welding and Machine. They retired in 1969, moved to Ranger, Texas. Carolyn passed away in 1998. My brother Russell, was an attorney in Juneau, Skagway and Haines. He died when his private plane crashed on his way to Haines in 1970.

I attended Juneau Grade School and Juneau High School. I joined the Air Force from 1955-1959. After returning to Juneau, I joined the Juneau Police Department for several years. In 1962, I moved to Washington State and drove truck over the road for several years and then returned to Juneau. After a couple more years on the JPD, I worked as a heavy equipment mechanic. I joined the teamsters and spent several years driving truck on the North Slope. After returning to Juneau from the slope, I went to work for Red Samm Construction. In 1983, I married Agnes Campbell and we built a house at Thane, next door to my parent’s original homestead. We retired in 1986, and moved to Weatherford, Texas, where we now reside with our dogs, cats, donkeys, and miniature horses.


I was born in Dublin, Ireland, orphaned at age 12. My mother’s cousin, Tim O’Day and his wife Anna, brought me to Juneau in 1953, where I went to high school. I lived with the Day’s until 1956, when I married Jimmie Campbell. We had five daughters, Christina (deceased), Colleen, Catherine, Shannon and Patricia. I have three grandsons and four granddaughters. I worked for the Dept. of Education and Dept. of Public Safety until retirement in 1986. I married Richard Secrist in 1983. Although I miss Alaska very much, it is nice to wake up to sunshine every morning. I now raise donkeys and miniature horses. In 1999, Dick and I both survived cancer and we are both doing fine now.

Carolyn "Betty" and Robert Secrist, 1958.

Secrist house built on Thane in 1947.

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