Former Juneau resident Ralph Walter Kriska Perdue, 73, died April 29, 2003, in Fairbanks after an extended illness.
He was born near Koyukuk on Dec. 16, 1929. During his early years he lived a subsistence lifestyle moving from summer to winter camp with his parents, Matilda and Kokrine Kriska.
During World War II he was adopted by Eldridge and Virginia Perdue. He became interested in jewelry in 1946. In 1962, he opened Perdue's Jewelry, and he and his wife, Dorothy, operated the business continuously for 41 years. In 1962, Ralph help found the Fairbanks Native Association. He was elected as chairman of the Tanana Chiefs Conference from 1962-68, and was Doyon Shareholder of the Year in 1990. He served on the Fairbanks Borough Assembly and the Fairbanks North Star School District School Board.
Through the FNA, he helped start a program for young rural students to live with families and attend high school in Fairbanks. His family hosted many students over the years.
He was a veteran of the Korean War, and a member of the American Legion. He was a member of the Eagles Lodge and La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux.
He was preceded in death by siblings Leo Kriska, Gilford Kriska, and Rita Monroe.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dorothy; daughters Karen Perdue and husband Charles Bettisworth, Mona Perdue Jones and George Nollner; sister-in-law Caryl Smith; grandchildren Vincent, Lawrence, Clara Perdue, and Ben Bettisworth; sisters Minnie Robertson, Margaret (Henry) Agnes, Austin Esmailka, and Hughie Kriska. He also is survived by numerous nieces and nephews, all along the Yukon from Kaltag to Fort Yukon, and in Iowa, Missouri and Washington state.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in the name of Ralph Perdue to the Doyon Foundation, 1 Doyon Place, Suite 300, Fairbanks, AK 99701. Condolences can be sent to 1166 Sunset Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99709.