Longtime Juneau Resident John Ricks Stevens died May 18, 2009, at home in Palmer. He was 63.
Born Nov. 8, 1945, in Raton, N.M. He attended High School in a number of locations, as his father's job took him all over the world. His most memorable school experience was when he attended a year of high school at Military School in Virginia. During his youth he played football and was very involved in the Scouting Program, which he was a huge advocate of. He moved to Alaska in the Spring of 1965 with his parents and siblings. He was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his country in Vietnam. While stationed in Fort Lewis, he met Patricia N. Cutting, and they married Oct. 22, 1966. He was then transferred to Fort Benning, Ga., where he attended parachute jump school. Following completion of jump school, he received orders for Special Forces (Green Beret) training at Fort Bragg, N.C.
During the time he was stationed at Fort Bragg, their first child was born. Just before Christmas in 1967, he received orders for Vietnam. He took his wife and 6-month-old daughter to Juneau to live with his parents while he completed his tour in Vietnam. During his tour, he served with the 5th Special Forces Group in Natrang. In 1969, he earned an Honorable Discharge and returned to his family in Juneau.
In 1974, he shipped freight for a barge line and after that did remodeling and construction work. He and his wife managed the Airport Motel and Apartments for four years while he also was a truck driver. Stevens spent the majority of his life as a truck driver working for Ike's Fuel, Chilkat Fuel, Chevron and Taku Oil. He retired from Taku Oil in 2007.
At the end of 2007, due to unexpected health problems, he left his home in Juneau and moved to Palmer where his daughter, Tammy, and her family live.
Immediately following his death, he was brought home to Juneau to be laid to rest next to his wife.
"He was a wonderful father and loving husband," his family said. "He believed in doing what was right and believed strongly that if you were going to do something, you do it right or don't bother doing it at all. ... He enjoyed more than life itself doing his woodworking and creating beautiful things with his hands. ... He had a heart of gold and will be missed dearly by all that knew him."
He was preceded in death by his wife of 38 years, Patricia N. Stevens, in March 2004; father, Ira M. Stevens, in December 2008; and mother, Geneva Ricks Stevens, in September 1988.
He is survived by his daughter, Tammy A. and Jeremiah W. Fisher; son, John "Scott" and Kari A. Stevens; grandchildren, Christopher, Michael and Tristan Fisher, of Palmer, and Kaia S. and Landon L. Stevens, of Juneau; sisters and brothers, Joann and Alfred Liddle, Daryl and Bonnie Stevens, Gena and Paul Demetter, Randy and Edith Stevens and Roxilyn Timmons; and aunt, VerJean Baker.
Pallbearers are Scott Stevens, Jeremiah Fisher, Tim Hidre, Hans Marx, Martin Morris-Parr and Jon "Noni" Kristjansson. Honorary pallbearers are Mark, Barry, Malcohm, Noel and Graham Cutting, all of England, and Daryl Stevens, of Kansas, and Randy Stevens, of Utah.