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Kassner, Arthur

by Joan Kassner Harju

I was born April 10, 1907, in Tukwila, Washington. My wife Esther (Childs) Kassner was born on February 5, 1913, in Seattle. We were married January 22, 1934, in Kent, Washington. I came to Juneau on January 22, 1944, where I found work as a mechanic with a cab company. I also found a house for my family on 7th Street renting from Bob Coughlin. Esther and our daughters Joan, Ardyne and Linda arrived in Juneau in early April.

Since it was wartime and mail was censured, my letters were full of holes as I wrote some things I should not have, such as date and time of arrival and departure at different ports.

I worked as a mechanic for Yellow Cab and Royal Blue Cab companies. I joined the Territorial Guard so had to go out during blackouts as many of the men did. I also worked for Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Public Roads and Department of Transportation, as a mechanic for the Federal Building when I retired about 1971.

Juneau being isolated, the only transportation in or out of the Territory was by steamer which took both people and freight from town to town. Juneau was small at the time-only about 6000 people.

Our son Dan was born in Juneau in May, 1945.

We left February 13, 1947, on the North Sea, its last run as the boat hit the rocks outside of Bella Bella, B.C. We returned to Alaska in August 1949, and have lived here ever since, except for approximately two years in the 1970ís, which Esther and I spent in the Seattle area and two years spent traveling around the States and Canada.

Esther and I have lived only in Juneau, as have Joan and her husband Leonard and Dan and his wife Lorinda. Ardyne lived Outside for awhile and later returned to Juneau and married Ivan "Bud" Womack. Linda and her husband Paul lived in Anchorage while he was a dentist with the Public Health Service, and survived the 1964 earthquake. They now live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


I was born in Finland December 28, 1908, and was three months old when my parents returned to the States. On August 20, 1927, I married George John Harju in Aberdeen, Washington. He was born on February 13, 1906 in Ishpeming, Michigan, and died in April 1954 in Funter Bay.

I arrived by steamship with my husband and son Leonard in 1935, as there was no work in Aberdeen. George worked in the A.J. Mine; later he went fishing which he did for the rest of his life. He also worked as a carpenter in the off season.

George was mauled by a brown bear in the fall of 1947 near Pleasant Bay on the west side of Seymour Canal.

I worked for the Territory and State until I retired. I married Fred George Frobese on October 6, 1956. Fred was born in Nome, on December 12, 1903, and died December 10, 1978, in Port Angeles, Washington. He was a fisherman and electrician. Fred and I left Alaska for his health and better weather.

Juneau was small and everyone knew everybody else.


I was born in Seattle, Washington, on March 24, 1935, to Art and Esther Kassner. I came to Alaska in early April 1944, with my mother and two sisters, Ardyne and Linda to join my dad, who had come to Juneau in January. My brother Dan was born in Juneau.

I went to school in Juneau until we left in February 1947, on the North Sea. The ship hit the rocks outside Bella Bella, B.C. We were taken off by fishing boats and taken to Bella Bella. From there we went by steamship to Vancouver, B.C. and then by train to Seattle.

We returned to Juneau early September 1949, in time for school. I graduated from Juneau High School in May 1953, and went to work for the Territorial Department of Health on 3rd and Seward.

On August 27, 1954, I married Leonard John Harju in Juneau. We lived in Juneau and Douglas where we raised five children, George, Frank, Doriann, John and David. John died in 1977; George died in 1995. Leonard died in 1999. I also have five grandchildren; two in North Pole, two in Oregon and one in Illinois.

When we were first married, Len was a fisherman. He also worked for the post office, Erwinís Supermarket on South Franklin, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the City of Juneau and as a carpenter. He was working part time for the Douglas Breeze In at the time of his death.

I went back to work in October 1966, for the State until the late 1980ís. I formally retired from the State of Alaska in 1990. After I left that employment, I went to work for Lamontís, a clothing store at the Nugget Mall.

I took accounting and paralegal classes at the University of Alaska in Juneau in the 1970ís. I now volunteer for the Juneau-Douglas City Museum and for the Visitor Information Center at the Davis Log Cabin.

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