Longtime Nikiski resident Dirk Henry Dykstra Sr. died of natural causes on June 25, 2010 at his home with his wife by his side. He was 81.
He was born April 12, 1929 in Thompson Falls, Mont. to Henry and Delta Dykstra. The seventh eldest of 14 children, he grew up on his parents' ranch and was tending his father's sheep herd alone in the mountains and pastures of Montana by age 13. He spent his early years working in the lumber mills of Montana.
In 1952, he dedicated himself to the service of his lord and became a minister of a non-denominational church until moving to Alaska in 1961. Soon after, he took a construction foreman job with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and spent the next 6 years building some of the first houses and schools across the state in the rural and remote villages.
In 1967, he returned to Juneau to work at the Juneau Light and Power Co. In Juneau, he met and married his wife, Nettie Lou Cuneo. The family moved to Petersburg in 1972 and to Moose Pass in 1973, before moving to Nikiski in 1976. He spent the next 30 years as an operator at the Chugach Electric Bernice Lake power plant, retiring in 1995. He was an IBEW Union member for more than 35 years.
He loved all things wilderness related: hunting, fishing and spending time in his makers' wonderland. It was this pioneering spirit for new horizons that spurred his wanderlust to relocate to an emerging state and explore its back roads and byways.
He never lost the yearning for a "ranch" and saw the importance of self-reliance in having one's own livestock and large garden for many years.
Dirk Sr. was a man that quietly touched all those who knew him, a man that said what he meant and meant what he said. His real strength was reflected in his steady and never wavering example of a hard-working Christian; people often sought his non-judgmental advice and counsel. He never turned down an opportunity to help a friend or a stranger. He was a loving husband, a devoted father & grandfather and will be greatly missed by all those who knew him.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Claude Dykstra, and sisters, Gladys, Clara and Julia Dykstra.
He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years Nettie Dykstra; sons, Dirk Dykstra Jr. and John Dykstra; grandchildren, Kenny and Kali Dykstra; sisters and brothers-in-law, June Mercer, Delta Smith, Cathy and Armand Sandon, Mertie and Paul Gardner; brothers and sisters-in-law, Dave and Erlice Dykstra, Martin and Marie Dykstra, Ted and Joan Dykstra, Allyn and Karen Dykstra, Lee and Gracie Dykstra; and numerous other family members.