Past and Present: Gary Wilken

Gary Wilken stands with one of the basketballs the Lathrop basketball team signed and played with when they won the 1964 State Championship at his son's home on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Wilken moved to Fairbanks in 1951 when he was 5 years old and graduated from Lathrop High School in 1964. He and his wife Sue Wilken met in 6th grade in all-school band. She played first clarinet at Nordale Elementary and he played first cornet at Denali Elementary. They both attended college in Oregon, where Gary continued to play basketball, and they raised a family in Fairbanks. Three of their four children, Karen, Allison and Matt, played basketball at Lathrop. Matt is now the basketball coach at Lathrop and their son Bobby started Hoodoo. Gary and Sue have six grandchildren, and some of them have played for the Lathrop Basketball team as well. Gary served a state senator from 1997 to 2009 and is now on the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. He has also served on the Fairbanks Youth Sports Foundation since 1981 and continues to do so. Have you or someone you know had their photograph taken by a News-Miner photographer 10 or more years ago? If you would be interested in participating in this project contact Erin Corneliussen at