Parks and Recreation Image


Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Sperling Jr., Harry

by Harry, Mary, David & Bill Sperling
UID=1116


HARRY SPERLING JR. (1925 - )

Harry Jr., was born in 1925 at home on Irwin Street near the ACS apartments. My parents eventually purchased the home of the late Dr. McAuliffe on 10th Street in 1935. I was enrolled in the Juneau Elementary School System and graduated from high school in 1943. At that time I was 1-A in the draft but was determined not to be drafted in Juneau for fear of being assigned to the Duck Creek Commandos. John Bavard felt much the same so we decided to pay our own way to Seattle to enlist. I served with the 10th AAF Emergency Rescue Boat Squadron in the Aleutian Islands 1943-45. Fished halibut, black cod and albacore tuna from 1946-54 with three attempts at college from 1946-48 ending up purchasing the halibut schooner Sitka in a partnership with Erling Oswald and Bill Odell. I married my wife Annice in 1951, and then worked for the National Marine Fisheries on the John R. Manning for almost three years.

In 1954, I was skipper of a large tuna long liner for the Kayler-Dahl Fish Co. to fish out of Honolulu in the Line Islands. I then found a position with what is now the Federal Aviation Administration as a powerhouse operator on Wake Island for the next eight years. When I realized the islandís days were numbered, I sent an SOS to Erling Oswald for employment with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and was employed in Jamaica and now had a wife and two infant daughters. Then working with the major fishing nations of Korea, Indonesia and Manila I became the FAO Regional Fisheries Coordinator for the South Pacific commuting between the South Pacific countries and Manila where the office was located in 1975. In 1985 and at age 60, I took an early retirement. My career with FAO was very satisfying and I think I contributed something to fisheries development in a number of third-world countries. We had purchased property in Ocean Shores, Washington, and moved there after retirement.