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Ecklund, Linda (Furuness)

by Linda Ecklund

Linda Furuness Ecklund was born September 16, 1917, in Brutus, Alberta, Canada, to John and Olga Furuness. Her mother delivered her alone with only her brother Ralph and sister Alpha present. Her father was off getting a neighbor to come to help but Linda was born before they returned. Ralph, born in 1913, Ivar, born in 1920, and another daughter, Rosella, born in 1921, were all born in Canada. Alpha was born in Norway in 1914. The family moved to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, traveling by wagon. Horsehides covered the back of the wagon to keep the children warm. Clifford was born in 1923, and Delphine in 1924, in Idaho.

Linda’s dad came to Juneau with a friend with the idea of building a fishing boat. It didn’t pan out so he went to work at the A.J. Mill. The rest of the family moved to Juneau in 1924. Linda’s youngest brother, John, was born in Juneau in 1928. The family first lived at the Evergreen Apartments. These were small apartments so Linda’s mom and dad had to rent two units because the family was so big. There was no indoor plumbing available at that time. They had to use the outhouse that was built out over Gold Creek.

In 1928, they moved to Thane and rented one of the company houses. They then had all the comforts of home—HOT AND COLD RUNNING WATER and an INSIDE BATHROOM and a TELEPHONE!

Mail came to Thane on the ferry boats Teddy and Amy. The mail pouch was left on the dock for someone to pick up and take to the post office up town. The postmistress was Mrs. Charlie Whipple. The Furuness children attended school at Thane which was a two-room schoolhouse where grades one through eight were taught. One room was for classes and one room was for memory work or for playing if the weather was too bad to be outdoors. Later they took the school bus to Juneau High School on Fifth Street in Juneau.

There was a golf course in Thane on the sandy beach (sand from mine tailings). It was a 9- hole course that went around twice to make a game of 18 holes. Linda caddied for Governor Parks and William Pullen of Alaska Electric Light and Power, for a quarter. Her sister Alpha was the greens keeper. Whenever there was an especially high tide, she had to redesign the “greens.”

Paul Ecklund worked as a shift boss in the A.J. Mine. Paul and two of his friends, Ike Puustinen and Oscar Pearson lived in “bachelor’s” quarters in Thane. In July, 1937, Linda met Paul Ecklund and they were married on November 27, 1937. Later, Linda’s sister Rosella married Ike Puustinen and Oscar Pearson married a nurse from St. Ann’s and they all continued to live in Thane. Paul and Linda first lived in a three room company house and the rent was $3 per room, so $9 a month. They later moved to a four room house. When the mine closed during the war, Paul stayed on for a while, helping to close it up. He then bought a boat, Her Highness and went salmon trolling in the spring of 1947. The Ecklunds raised four children, Joanne, Jim, Pauline and Pete in Thane until 1956, when they bought a house “in town” at 333 West Ninth, which had formerly belonged to the Kronquist family.

Paul sold Her Highness in 1958, and bought another boat the AB&G. He fished until he passed away May 2, 1961, at age 51.

Linda worked in the Juneau High School cafeteria from October 1962 until the end of April 1965. She then went to work for the Department of Military Affairs on May 3, 1965, and retired at the end of December 1982.

Linda’s parents passed away in 1968, in Coeur d’ Alene. She has two brothers, Ivar and John and one sister, Delphine, still living. All four of her children live in Juneau and she has ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

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