Paul Stuart Whitehead

Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paul Stuart Whitehead passed on August 11, 2010 at the age of 15. Born in Juneau on March 24, 1995, Paul was a young man of great character, intelligence, generosity and kindness. Paul was that rare child who excelled at nearly everything he attempted.

Throughout his academic career, Paul participated in the district's Gifted and Talented program where he was an annual fixture on Honor Rolls. In fifth grade at Harborview, he qualified in mathematics to participate in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer program. In eighth grade at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, he won the district-wide Math Counts competition and placed second with his team at state. As a freshman at Thunder Mountain High School, Paul took honors and AP courses and began taking a college mathematics course at the UAS.

In fifth grade, Paul set a goal for himself to become an engineer. Later, he refined that goal to include medicine when he wanted to become a prosthetics engineer so he could directly "help people." At the time of his death, he was aiming to study engineering and/or medicine at Stanford or MIT.

Paul was a Juneau Troop 11 Boy Scout, nearing the rank of Eagle Scout. He loved to participate in High Adventure trips repelling and exploring caves on Price of Wales, climbing Mt. Edgecumbe, kayaking Seymour Canal, living in snow caves and many other trips.

Skilled in sailing and kayaking, Paul loved to play soccer, hunt, fish, hike, camp, rock climb, snowboard and other outdoor activities. He was a voracious reader who always sought to better understand the world around him with interests in geography, politics and history. Paul was a talented cellist who played with the Juneau Youth Symphony, and was learning guitar. An avid gamer, he often could be found online playing video games and chatting with his friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandmothers Nellie Pusich and Tina Whitehead; great-grandparents William and Dorothy Whitehead, and Vince and Mary Killeen of Dufur, Ore.; and step-grandparents Wally and Sandi Rakestraw of Milton-Freewater, Ore., and Albert "Swede" Erickson of International Falls, Minn.

He is survived by his parents Keith Whitehead and Mun Chin Killeen, and stepparents Kara Rakestraw and Jim Erickson, all of Juneau; "sister" Kylie Waggoner; grandparents Lawrence Pusich, Paul Killeen of Dufur, Ore., and Stuart Whitehead of Washington; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; and the countless friends whose lives he touched.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Auke Rec at 3 p.m. September 4th. Further details will be posted in the Empire preceding the event. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to an account entitled "In Memory of Paul Whitehead," c/o First Bank, 3075 Vintage Park Blvd., Juneau, AK 99801-7109. The funds will be used to create a scholarship program for Juneau youth.

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