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Juneau resident Fred Gaffney died in his home on Oct. 3, 2009, after a struggle with cancer. He was 63.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Fred and Dorothy Gaffney, he graduated from high school in Lawton, Okla., in 1963. He graduated from Tarleton State University, in Stephenville, Texas, with a bachelor's degree in biology in 1967. He served in the U.S. Army in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He returned to graduate school at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, where he received his master's degree in aquatic biology in 1972.
He married Suzanne La Bonte of El Paso, Texas, in 1972, and immediately left for Alaska, where he began his career with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In 1979, he left his post in Kodiak to join the Extended Jurisdiction Program as a senior fisheries biologist in Juneau. In 1988, he was appointed regional supervisor for sports fish in Southeast Alaska. He advised successive commissioners of fish and game on North Pacific Fisheries Management Council matters.
In 1992, he retired from the department to accompany his wife and family to the South Pacific, to Italy to where Suzie worked at IRRSAE as a teacher-trainer, and later to Hokkaido, Japan, where his family represented Juneau in the Nishiokkoppe-Juneau Teacher Exchange Program.
He and Suzie resettled in Eugene, Ore., and then returned to Juneau, where he first worked as a special assistant to the commissioner of corrections, then during his retirement, he worked as a driver, guide and teller-of-tall-tales for Princess Tours.
Fred was heavily engaged in community activities wherever he lived. In Juneau, he was once an active member of the National Ski Patrol and an organizer of the annual ski swap. He was Vice President of the Juneau World Affairs Council and Finance committee chair on the Juneau Airport Board. He was an avid pilot, holding both private and glider licenses and working on his second airplane.
He is survived by his wife, Suzie, his son, Evan Gaffney, of Kirkland, Wash.; daughter, Emily Gaffney and son-in-law, Lance Matson, of Juneau; sisters, Patricia Thomas of Austin, Texas, and Theresa Gaffney of San Francisco, Calif., and brother, Michael Gaffney and his wife, Bonnie, of Albuqueque, N.M.; as well as several nieces and nephews.
His family will miss his sense of humor, noticeable laughs, great meals and caring nature. Fred Gaffney took good care of his family; they wre always his number one priority, his family said.
A celebration of Fred's life will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at the main shelter at Sandy Beach. It will be a potluck and grill.
Contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to Juneau Hospice and Home Care, 419 Sixth Street, Juneau, AK 99801-1020.