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Reddekopp, Stanley E. (Stan)

by Stan Reddekopp

I was born in Tillamook, Oregon, September 8, 1936, to Mabel K. (McLean) Reddekopp, who was born in Osceola, Wisconsin, and Elwood W. Reddekopp, who was born in Dallas, Oregon. My father was somewhat of an adventuresome fellow. He had heard stories of Alaska from Army buddies during his World War II service. It sparked an interest in him, and he needed to check out Alaska. He traveled to Seldovia, Petersburg and Juneau. He liked Juneau and moved his family here.

I arrived in Juneau on April 28, 1947. For a child that had attended a one-room school in Pacific City, Oregon, it was a big adventure. The flight on a fourengine constellation airplane (which even served meals) was truly awesome. The “huge” terminal in Seattle and then the little frame building that served as a terminal in Juneau all contributed to the excitement. There was rain and hail to greet us upon arrival, but I paid little mind to that when I saw all the big snow berms. I knew I was in heaven and that feeling has not gone away.

Our family moved to Auke Bay to a two bedroom house that my father had purchased prior to our arrival. There was no electricity (the power lines did not go that far), no telephone, and the surface water system had to be hand pumped daily. I remember when my mother got a Maytag gasoline powered wringer wash machine. What an invention! I am sure it made her job easier, although rainwater had to be heated and packed to it so the clothes did not take on the brown color of muskeg water.

I graduated from the Juneau Public Grade School in 1950, and the Juneau High School in 1954. The grade school and high school were on Fifth Street and all the kids in the area, with the exception of Douglas, went there. There was a big difference from today.

While in school grades 7 through 12, I fished with my father in the summer. This was an incredible experience. One summer I rode the mail boat, MV Treva C, with Captain Dave Reischl out to Elfin Cove to rendezvous with my father. We stopped at numerous places enroute to unload mail and supplies. Elfin Cove was a thriving community during those days; two grocery stores (one was a general store), two fish buying stations, two fueling stations for boats, and at the head of the cove was a marine ways with a shop. There were many trollers, seiners, and longliners coming and going. Sometimes it seemed the little cove would burst at the seams. I am fortunate to have seen and been a part of that lifestyle, which is forever gone.

Another treasured childhood memory is the time spent working (at times playing) on the log Chapel-By-The-Lake. I had the priceless opportunity to interact with adults such as Jim DeHart, Eric Lindegaard Sr., and Frank Maier (who owned a big dairy where Don Abel’s Building Supply is now located). I learned how to use a froe and split shakes. The adze, broadax and similar tools were off limits. I don’t believe that my father wanted dulled tools or wanted to foot the bill for stitching me up if I cut myself. I often go to the Chapel to relive old memories.

After high school, I went to work for Glacier Highway Electric Association. I worked with Bill Norton, who wore many hats from lineman to general manager. I was his “grunt” helper. What I liked most about that job was reading meters. The Association covered from the town side of Pederson Hill, Fritz Cove, Auke Bay, Loop Road to Mendenhall River, Lena Loop, and Tee Harbor. It gave me a chance to do my job and visit with my neighbors. Cap Hayes is one individual that I loved to chat with. I enjoyed coffee and cookies at Jack and Libby Donohue’s at the end of the line. Despite the interesting people, there was not enough equipment to keep me interested, so I moved on to another job.

I was employed by Jim Cole and Tom Paddock (Cole and Paddock Construction), who were general contractors. They primarily did marine construction and at times would get contracts to build bridges. My boss was Tom Paddock, Sr. This job was exciting for me. We never knew where the next contract would be, so I got to travel. We spent time in nearly every town and village from Cordova to Ketchikan. Working with Tom was truly an enjoyable experience. Some jobs stand out, such as making a vehicular bridge out of the “million dollar” railroad bridge (50 miles out of Cordova), the Brotherhood Bridge across Mendenhall River and (the greatest ones) building the original ferry docks in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau, Sitka, Haines and Skagway. I will never forget the enjoyable hours with Tom while moving the piledriver or barges around with a little harbor tug.

During this time I married Nancy Edwards. We were too young to really know what we wanted. I was drafted into the Army. I received orders to go to Korea after advanced training at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. When I returned we were divorced. In 1961, I married Ida Jo (Jo) Timmermen. My first daughter, Glendi, was born in Juneau. I remember Dr. Whitehead coming across the street in his pajamas to deliver her. He was such a cool fellow. In 1963, my son Michael was born in Tillamook, Oregon. I was out of town on a construction job, so Jo went south to be close to her family for his birth.

Now that I had a family, it became apparent that I needed to stay in one place. I was in Haines working. When the work was completed, John Schnable offered me a job as construction foreman for the big sawmill he was building on Lutak Inlet. I accepted and started growing some roots. After completion of the sawmill, I went contract logging for him. The slang term was “gypo logger.” My second daughter, Gayle, was born in Haines at the Health Clinic in 1967. She was home within two hours after being born. What a joy!

I have fond memories of gypo logging for John. It was extremely hard work, but challenging and enjoyable. John was a fair and honest man, who I have learned to appreciate more and more during the years. I was enticed into logging round log export because of the higher value. More money drew me like a magnet. I went to work logging for Cliff and Henry Reeves. We logged in Juneau where Hillside Estates now exists, Peterson Creek, St. James Bay, and Haines. My daughters Kate, in 1969 and Nikki, in 1971 were born in Juneau during this time.

The log market crashed and I had some difficult times. I had a wife and five children to support and no job. I moved back to Juneau in order to get my feet back on the ground and returned to construction work. I went to work for Belardi and Schneider and was grateful for the work.

Having liked my period of self-employment, I started looking for another business. I jumped at an opportunity to buy a troller and go fishing. Since 1973, I have been a commercial fisherman and owned several boats. In 1990, for reasons unknown, I sunk my boat, the FV Takan. The Coast Guard rescued three crewmembers and myself with a helicopter, 30 miles off Cape Spencer in a storm. The accident happened in April, 1990. When I was not fishing, I continued to work construction. I worked for outfits such as my brother’s, Dwain Reddekopp, Inc., and Shorty Tonsgard’s Channel Construction. In November, 1990, I was diagnosed with COPD, emphysema, and was forced to retire.

Today my children and six grandchildren are scattered far and wide: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and New York. I occasionally travel and have the opportunity to visit them.

I live in Douglas with my treasured partner and “soul mate,” Jeri Museth. I am appreciative of the beauty of the area and plan to continue living here until I meet my Creator. The initial feeling I had as a child arriving at Juneau Airport still burns.

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