Parks and Recreation Image

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Hogins, Leslie & Inez (Hatfield)

by Doreen Publow Hogins

Leslie R. Hogins was born in Russellville, Arkansas, in 1898. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1916-20. Raising chickens in his hometown proved neither too exciting nor lucrative a business, so without much persuasion he came north with his brother-in-law and sister, Thomas A. and Sue Morgan. Tom, a lumberman from Oregon, eventually founded the old Columbia Lumber Company with lumber yards and sawmills in Juneau, Sitka, Whittier, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Leslie had married Inez Hatfield in Russellville in 1926. Inez was born in Dardanelle, Arkansas, in 1904. They arrived in Juneau in 1927. There was one season working at the cannery in Tenakee before Mr. Hogins started working in the office for the A-J Mine. Inez had a 39- year career working for various agencies within the Federal Government. Entertainment involved card parties, gathering around the radio with friends, attending dances and movies. It was believed to be much fun on Halloween night to roll garbage cans from 6th Street down the hills. Inez and her sister-in-law enjoyed the outdoors and were known to have hiked Mt. Roberts during the month of February. Their only child, Leslie R. Hogins, Jr,. was born at St. Ann’s Hospital in 1928.

During WWII at the age of 44, Mr. Hogins felt it was his duty to enlist again in the Navy. He served 16 months with the Seebees spending most of his tour on the Aleutians. Because of his age, he was discharged in 1945, when his outfit was transferred to the South Pacific. He would still get “miffed” about this when telling the story to his grandchildren. He always felt that he should have been allowed to stay until the end of the conflict.

Upon returning to Juneau, he worked for the Columbia Lumber Company prior to starting his own business, Alaska Builders Supply, first located at the present site of Northern Light United Church and then to a new Butler building located near Gold Creek across from where the Federal Building is now. Urban renewal closed the business in 1969. The Hogins felt it was time to return to Russellville mainly to get away from shoveling winter snows and to help in the care of Mr. Hogins’ 90-year old mother. Mr. Hogins died there in 1978, while Inez lived until 1984.

Les Hogins, Jr. grew up as part of the old Starr Hill Gang where the neighborhood kids spent many hours playing basketball in the Chicken Yard. This was a good learning process as he played varsity basketball during his high school years and was captain of the team in his senior year when, from all accounts, Juneau beat Petersburg to become the Southeast Champions in 1946. He lived in Alaska all his life with the exception of seven months in Arkansas while Les Sr. was serving in the Navy. He went for two years to Washington State University before finally returning to Juneau to work for the Columbia Lumber Company.

Les Jr. married Doreen Publow in 1950. Doreen was a newly graduated Registered Nurse from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who had come to Juneau in 1949, to work as a nurse at St. Ann’s Hospital. Her original intent was to stay for six months before trying for a job in Hawaii. It was an exciting trip flying from Seattle to Juneau, especially when the co-pilot who was checking on all the passengers asked if Doreen would like to check out the cockpit to see how the plane was operated. This would probably never happen today. The nurses’ residence, right across the street from the hospital and now a vacant lot used for parking, was filled, so newly arriving nurses were put up in rooms on the third floor right opposite the surgery and delivery rooms. Quite an experience. Governor Gruening and his wife would invite the nurses to receptions at the mansion to mingle with the guests whenever a visiting Navy ship was in town.

Coming from the cold Midwest prairies, the snow capped mountains, ocean, hiking, and fishing and relaxed life style proved irresistible. The couple had three children. Gary married Wendy Ward from Haines and they live in Juneau; Carol Anne married Jim Wolfe from Bellevue, Washington, and they live in Anchorage; and Mitchell married Joann Bouchey from Toppenish, Washington, and they live in Concord, North Carolina. Leslie Hogins Jr. died in 1979.

Les Sr. & Inez Hogins.