Parks and Recreation Image


Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Sperling, Harry

by Harry, Mary, David & Bill Sperling
UID=1115


HARRY SPERLING (1895-1950)

Our dad, Harry Sperling, was born in the Belarus, Russia, area in 1895, the eldest of six children.He was about six years old when his family of four escaped from Russia during the pogrom, when the Jewish people were expelled and many killed. They fled to England where two more siblings were born and finally to the United States where two more children were born, eventually settling in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harry joined the Army before graduating and was sent overseas and became one of the Honor Guards for President Wilson in Germany. After the Army he moved to Missoula, Montana, where he joined the Forest Service and arrived in Juneau in 1920. He traveled all over Alaska in this capacity with the Forest Service. In his early years, he thought to supplement his income as a representative for New York Life, turning that over later to Keith Wildes. Dad was active in civic affairs. He was an Exalted Ruler of the Elks and a life member. He enjoyed the theater and was in many productions. He loved to sing.

In 1947, he took a geographic trip with his son David and daughter Mary. They bicycled the Alcan Highway from Whitehorse, Y.T., to Minneapolis, a total of 1,000 bicycle miles. The Alcan was completed in 1945, and it was rough, tough, and dusty. No one could ever guess that he would have a cerebral hemorrhage less than three years later. He was 55 when he died in 1950.