FAIRBANKS - Sidney C. Huntington, a trapper, education advocate and author of well-known Alaska autobiography "Shadows on the Koyukuk," has died.
Huntington died Tuesday afternoon at age 100 in the Yukon Koyukuk Elder Assisted Living Facility in Galena, according to his daughter, Agnes Sweetsir.
A memorial service is planned for Friday morning at the community school that bears his name.
"He was definitely a patriarch in town. If you're not related to him you consider him a father figure anyways. I think that's how we all feel. Like we've lost dad or uncle or grandpa," said Tim Bodony, the news director at Galena radio station KIYU, who was in the process of writing a eulogy for Huntington on Wednesday morning.
"But he was 100 and had been in poor health for a long time, so there's a lot of relief that's going along with it also that he's running a new trapline in the sky, so to speak," he said.
Huntington was born in the village of Hughes, the son of a white gold miner father and a Koyukon Athabascan mother. His autobiography, written with Jim Rearden and published in 1993, describes his family's struggles in unforgiving wilderness, including Huntington's life running a trapline as a teenager and caring for his younger sister alone when Huntington was 5 years old.
Huntington went on to found the Galena school district, which now operates regional charter school Galena Interior Learning Academy. He operated a fish processing business in Galena and served on the Alaska Board of Game for 17 years.
The memorial service is at 10 a.m. on Friday, followed by a snowmachine caravan to a burial at Galena's cemetery, which is not connected to the road system, Bodony said. A potlatch is planned for 6 p.m. at the school.
Contact outdoors editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.