Longtime Ketchikan residents leave state

After 80 years in Alaska, the Cloudy's are set to board the ferry to go and live in Washington

Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2005

KETCHIKAN - As a kid growing up in Ketchikan during Prohibition, Charles "Chuck" Lester Cloudy collected whiskey bottles to sell to local bootleggers.

He delivered groceries to the town's early red-light district during high school, and served in a "crash boat" squadron in the Aleutian Islands during World War II.

As a young attorney, he practiced before a U.S. Supreme Court justice in a landmark case involving fish traps in Southeast Alaska. Later, he was partner in a law firm that was local counsel for Ketchikan Pulp Co. for many years.

On Wednesday, after eight decades of being part of Ketchikan's rich history, Chuck Cloudy will board a state ferry with his wife, Marjorie "Marje" Cloudy, and sail south to reside in Washington state.

"It's difficult to leave home, because this has been home for many, many years," Marje Cloudy said.

Chuck Cloudy was born in Ketchikan on May 26, 1924, the year after Ketchikan General Hospital opened.

Cloudy said he used to play in Hopkins Alley, collecting the whiskey bottles that were in demand by bootleggers during Prohibition.

"When Prohibition was lifted, we were stuck with a whole bunch of bottles," he said.

After a brewery opened up, Cloudy and his friends would go underneath the streets to collect used beer bottles. But the brewery went broke because making beer in a wobbly building on pilings was too difficult, he said.

Cloudy later joined the Army, serving with the 924th Quartermaster Boat Company, Aviation, at Annette Island's Tamgas Harbor, and then with the Eleventh Air Force 10th Emergency Rescue Boat Squadron at Attu in the Aleutian Islands.

He received a medical discharge from the military in 1945.

At that point, Cloudy didnt yet know Marje Peihl, who had arrived in Ketchikan in 1937 and was a friend of his younger sister.

They met at a Rainbow Dance on a cold January night.

"And I got the last dance, so I got to drive her home - but I drove her around town in my Buick convertible," Cloudy said.

"With the top down, in January," Marje said.

They married in 1948.

After graduating from the Willamette University College of Law, Cloudy was admitted to practice law in Oregon and Alaska in 1952. He returned to Ketchikan and joined the law firm of Ziegler, King and Ziegler.

He started in criminal law, but soon expanded into other areas such as civil and admiralty law.

In 1959, Cloudy became involved in one of his most memorable cases.

It involved fish traps, which were outlawed when Alaska became a state. But Metlakatla, Kake and Angoon had long relied on fish traps, and sued to continue their use.

After being turned down in a Juneau court, "we appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court," Cloudy said. "And we got a hearing before Justice (William J.) Brennan and got an injunction that stayed the hand of the territory."

Cloudy continued to work after suffering a stroke about 10 years ago, Marje Cloudy said. He received his 50-year pin, and officially retired on Dec. 31, 2002.

After taking the ferry south to Bellingham, Wash., this week, the Cloudys will be going to reside with their son, Charles "Chad" Cloudy and his wife, Sue Cloudy, in Whidbey Island.

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