Frank Chapados

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Former legislator and Alaska pioneer Frank X. Chapados died of complications from a stroke on July 12, 2007, at the Anchorage Pioneer Home. He was 93.

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He was born Jan. 18, 1914, in Juneau, to James and Monica Chapados. He moved with his family to Chichagof Island in 1920, and then to Winlock, Wash., in 1925. He returned to Chichagof in 1936, working as a millman at the gold mine before relocating to Fairbanks in 1939 to study engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he became a deputy U.S. marshal, a position he held until he joined the Navy in 1943. He served in the Pacific as an electronics technician on the USS Flint. In 1946, he resumed his job as deputy U.S. marshal in Fairbanks. Two years later, his love of the outdoors led him to join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 1948, he married Leona Chernenko, who was his partner in life and love until she died in 1987.

In 1951, President Truman appointed him as U.S. marshal for Fairbanks. In 1953, he became a partner in H&S Warehouse, a moving, storage and freight company, and Lynden Transport's first agent in Alaska.

After Alaska became a state, Frank served in the first and second Legislatures as a member of the House of Representatives.

His family wrote: "Frank was a tireless supporter of state and local causes, the military, and the transportation industry. He served as vice chairman of the Alaska Railroad Corp. and as president of Festival Fairbanks, and was an officer and director of numerous other civic organizations and state boards."

In 1982, the state Chamber of Commerce selected Frank as Alaskan of the Year. He was inducted into the Alaska Business Hall of Fame in 1991, given the Jim Messer Award for his contributions to military relations and welfare in 1995, and awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by the University of Alaska in 1999.

"While Frank was honored to receive public recognition, his family and friends were his top priority, and his greatest joy was sharing his love of Alaska with them," his family wrote.

He is survived by his daughters, Kathleen Chapados and her companion, Steven Reilly, and Marcia Nash and her husband, Roger, all of Fairbanks; sons, Gregory Chapados and Douglas Chapados and his wife, Lori, all of Anchorage; and granddaughter, Ellese Chapados, of Anchorage.

A funeral Mass will be at 4 p.m. Friday at the Immaculate Conception Church in Fairbanks. A reception will be held afterward at the Princess Hotel.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Anchorage Pioneer Home Donated Funds Account, 923 W. 11th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501.

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