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Baker, Dewey and Dorothy (Aalbu)

by Bill Baker

Franklin Dewitt, better known as Dewey Baker was born in 1909 in Astoria, Oregon, and reared in Seaside, Oregon. He died in 1962. After graduating from Seaside High School with honors, but no money to go to college, Dewey worked in a bakery as an apprentice and then journeyman. He moved to Juneau in 1929 and worked at Sully’s Bakery. When construction of the federal building (currently state legislative/capitol building) began, he worked on it as a laborer. In approximately 1935, he began working for Standard Oil on Thane Road. During World War II, he continued working for Standard Oil and hauled gasoline to the Army camp located at Duck Creek and the Juneau Airport.

After WW II, he went to work for E. E. (Elroy) Ninnis, who owned Juneau Motors and Standard Aviation products. It was Elroy Ninnis’ house that Dewey’s son Bill and wife Carolyn bought in 1964 (located at 517 Sixth Street), and lived in until leaving Juneau in 1989. Dewey managed Standard Aviation Products which provided aviation fuel and lubricants for aircraft. Dewey continued as manager of Standard Aviation Products and was the first airport manager when the City of Juneau assumed responsibility for the Juneau Municipal Airport.

In the late 1950s, Dewey resigned as Standard Aviation Products manager and went into the insurance business working as an agent with Grummett Insurance Agency and later as manager of D.K. MacDonald Insurance.

Dewey served on the Juneau school board from approximately 1949 into the 1950’s and was also a Juneau volunteer fire fighter. Dewey married Dorothy Aalbu in 1935 and had one son, William Aalbu Baker.

Dorothy Aalbu Baker was born in 1906 in Everett, Washington. She died in 1992 at the Juneau Pioneers Home. Her parents were Knut Aalbu, born in Opdahl, Norway and Hannah Bakke born in Yankton, South Dakota. Knut and Hannah were married in the summer of 1904. Dorothy graduated from the U. of Washington in 1927.

After graduation from college, Dorothy went to Cordova, Alaska, in the fall of 1927, to teach high school. Dorothy went to Cordova with a college friend, who was also a teacher, and they thought of going to Alaska as a great adventure. Dorothy was trained to be a language (Spanish and French) teacher, but taught whatever was needed including biology. Dorothy taught in Cordova for approximately two years and then moved to Juneau in 1929 or so, where she worked as a secretary for the Federal Bureau of Fisheries. Dorothy married Dewey Baker in 1935.

One of Dorothy’s students in Cordova was Clarence Jacobsen, who was probably only three years younger than Dorothy. Clarence later moved to Juneau where he was the owner of Taku Oil Sales.

Dorothy was an attendant at the first wedding of her friend Henrietta in 1929. The wedding ceremony took place in flight aboard a Loening amphibian airplane flown by Clayton Scott. Henrietta later moved to Juneau and was married to Vic Powers. The Powers lived on Thane Road and owned a paint and picture framing store on Seward Street in Juneau.

William Aalbu Baker, better known as Bill Baker, was born at St. Ann’s Hospital in Juneau in 1938. He went through the Juneau school system and graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1956, the first year the two schools had consolidated. Bill went on to Oregon State College and then received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business/ Insurance in 1960 from the U. of Washington.

Bill grew up in a house located at 517A Eleventh Street in the alley between 10th and 11th Streets in the “flats.” His parents lived there until Bill went to college when they moved to the highlands area. Bill remembers some of his “play areas,” one being the Ramsey’s woods which is the site today of the Resurrection Lutheran Church. He also played at the Fireman’s Ballpark, which is now the site of the Federal Building.

During WWII, there were caves that were dug for citizens to use in the event of enemy attack. The caves were located at the entrance to Evergreen Bowl. They had a sandbox in their basement to extinguish incendiary bombs, if necessary. They never had to use either the caves or the sandbox for war purposes.

Bill used to buy ice cream at Spruce Delicatessen from Al Glover and his wife Cora. He used to get things to fix his bikes from Madsen’s Fishing Supply and Bike Shop, owned by Jim Madsen located where the current fire station now stands. Bill would shoot baskets and play football around the neighborhood. Local plumber, Jack Gould, owner of Harri Plumbing and Heating and Bill’s father’s age, often joined in. Bill spent a lot of time at the airport with his dad “helping” him manage Standard Aviation. Lifelong friends were made there including Fred Baxter and Jim Wood. On nice days Bill would swim in the ponds around the airport along with other local children.

Bill worked in Seattle for United Pacific Insurance Co. after his graduation from college in 1960, until he returned to Juneau in 1964. He joined the McLean & Co. insurance agency owned by Joe and Isabel McLean in 1964, and stayed with the agency as an insurance broker and later as broker/manager through its various changes of ownership until 1989. With classmate and friend Mike Wade, Bill served as cochairman of the 1968 Juneau Salmon Derby. Bill, like his father, was also a volunteer fire fighter for many years.

Bill married Carolyn Allison of Portland, Oregon, in 1961. They had two sons, Michael Stuart born in 1962 and Todd Dewey born in 1968.

Carolyn and Bill left Juneau in 1989 and moved to Tumwater, Washington, where they currently reside.
They left Juneau to be nearer their children and grandchildren and for better weather.

Carolyn, Bill, Kim, Brett, Mike, Ryan, Todd and Lynn with Alexandra

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