Petersburg resident Kenneth William James, 82, died Jan. 1, 2004, after a brief stay at Bartlett Regional Hospital, surrounded by numerous family members and friends.
A traditional Tlingit and Christian memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Juneau ANB Hall. Additional services will be scheduled at the Sitka National Cemetery with a brief ferry stop in Angoon for a final farewell to the esteemed Clan Houses of Angoon.
He was born Aug. 26, 1921, to George (X'aleixhw) and Fannie (Aanshaawtk'i) James in Angoon. His Tlingit name was Jeexwanx and he was the last surviving male elder of the Deisheetaan, Raven House (Yeil Hit) of Angoon. He was fluent in the Tlingit language and enjoyed sharing Tlingit words of wisdom and stories that were passed down from his Deisheetaan ancestors.
He attended elementary school in Angoon and graduated from high school at Sheldon Jackson in Sitka, where he played basketball and held a field record for the broad jump for many years. He served in the U. S. Army during World War II. He supervised cold storage operations in the Aleutian Islands and played basketball for his unit's Army team from 1943 until he was honorably discharged in 1946. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion and briefly served in the Alaska Army National Guard in Angoon. He was a commercial fisherman for most of his life and worked and retired from Petersburg Cold Storage in the mid-1980s. He and his wife, Marie, loved to travel to Juneau for the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament and the Golden North Salmon Derby. They never missed a year of these annual events.
"He loved music, played the trumpet and participated in many school musical activities," said family members.
He was preceded in death by his wife of more than 30 years, Marie Reyes James; parents, George and Fannie James; son, Kenneth James Jr.; brothers, Robert James Sr., James Klushkan, Harry James and George James Jr. (infant brother); sisters, Mary James, Helen James (infant sister) and Helen James Zuboff.
He is survived by his sister, Selina (Murlin) Everson of Juneau; sons, Arnold and Joseph James of Seattle; cousins, Elsie John, Margaret (Charles) Gamble, June Pegues, Harriet Chilton, Marie (Charles) Beasley and William (Mona) Johnson; nieces, Donelle (Dermott) Howard, Catrina (Duff) Mitchell, Patricia Everson, Thea (Daniel) Brown, Pauline Paddock, Rose (Rudy) Walker, Vicky James, Eunice James-Lee, Amelia (Gordon) Kookesh, Elena See and Elizabeth Williams; nephews, Joe (Sharon) Zuboff, Mark Everson and Michael Everson, Larry James, Robert (Pamela) James, Jr., Thomas (Valerie) James, Timothy James, Sr., and James Klushkan, Jr.; and numerous great nieces and great nephews. He is also survived by his stepchildren, Arcadio Tagaban, Joe (Willie) Tagaban, Pauline (partner Harold) Young, Felipe (Marianne) Tagaban, Dorothy (Patrick) Owen, Lenora (William) Evans and Michael (Sandy) Tagaban, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.