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Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Tisdale, Cliff and Leonora (Carter)

by Ted W. Tisdale
UID=799


My father, Clifton Kenneth Tisdale, was born in Sherwood, North Dakota, on July 8, 1907. When he was a year old, the family moved to Everett, Washington, specifically Lake Stevens. My father grew up and graduated from high school there. He later joined the U.S. Army Signal Corp which was called the WAMCATS at that time. This stood for Washington Alaska Military Communication & Telegraph System. He came to Juneau via steamer in 1932, as a telegraph operator. Like most bachelors at the time, he roomed at the fire hall and worked as a fireman at night and on his off-duty time. He met my mother, Leonora Ellen Carter, and they were married February 22, 1935 in Juneau. They had one son, Theodore W. Tisdale, who was born on May 9, 1936.

My father stayed in the Alaska Communications System (ACS) as the WAMCATS was later called, for a total of 27 years; 22 of those years were spent in Juneau. During the other five years, he served tours in the Aleutians, Anchorage and in Seattle. After he retired from the Army in 1956, he worked as a commercial fisherman for three years, running his own boat out of Juneau. During the winter months he worked for Alaska Coastal Airlines. One summer he worked as a customs agent at the mouth of the Taku River. This was for the ore barges coming down the river from the Tulsequah Mine.

After he quit commercial fishing, he went to work for the Alaska Electric Light & Power Company full time as an Electrical Power Dispatcher. He retired from there in May of 1964. He and my mother were getting ready to go on a trip south when he died suddenly of a heart attack on July 20, 1964. He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery along with my mother, her sister Lavina and my grandparents, Alphonsine & Charles W. Carter.

In 1968, my mother decided to sell her house and leave Juneau. She moved to Port Angeles, Washington. In a short time, she missed Juneau and wanted to come back so she ended up buying her old house back, which was located at 624 Ninth Street. She was never able to come back as she developed cancer and died in Port Angeles on October 20, 1976. I brought her back to Juneau as was her wish and she is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery as I mentioned earlier.

That brings us up to myself. As previously mentioned, I was born May 9, 1936, in St. Annís Hospital. I went to school in Juneau and graduated high school there in 1955. After high school, I went to Portland, Oregon, to a diesel mechanics school for a year. Upon returning to Juneau, I went to work for Juneau Motors as a mechanic until April 1957, at which time I joined the U.S. Army ACS for three years. I was sent to Big Delta for a year as a diesel power plant operator and mechanic and then spent two years in Tok Junction doing the same thing. On February 6, 1959, I married my wife and in the ensuing years, we had three boys all in the Fairbanks area.

After I got out of the service in 1960, I went to work on Eielson Air Force Base in the heat and amp power production section until I retired 32 years later. After four years of retirement, I again went back to work at Eielson in the same section for another three years. As of December 31, 1999, I am again retired and plan to stay in the Fairbanks area.

Juneau was a great place to grow up as a kid and I enjoyed it tremendously.