Arthur H. Kassner, 97, passed away Oct. 11, 2004, after a brief illness.
Art was born April 10, 1907, in Tukwila, Wash., to Bernard and Mary (Kipp) Kassner. As a young man he worked in the timber industry, as a gandy dancer on the railroad, as well as many positions driving truck. In 1934, he married Esther G. Childs. They lived in Foster (now a part of Tukwila), Wash., where Art helped organize the town's fire department, serving as its first fire chief. He also helped build the community church and organized the Home Guard, a forerunner of the National Guard. In 1944, the family moved to Juneau, where Art worked as a mechanic for Royal Blue Cab and Yellow Cab. He joined the Home Guard and spent his leisure time skiing or prospecting. The family returned to Kent, Wash., in 1947. They were on the ill-fated SS North Sea, which ran aground close to Bella Bella, British Columbia. Upon their return to Juneau in 1949, Art worked as a mechanic for several private businesses before accepting a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He skippered the power barge, Hogan's Goat, and the patrol boat, Grizzly Bear. He transferred to the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, where he traveled extensively throughout Southeast Alaska supervising the maintenance of road equipment. Shortly after statehood Art returned to work with the federal government, General Services Administration.
When they retired, Art and Esther purchased an RV and traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada. When Esther became ill, the couple moved into the Pioneer Home.
Art was a past master of Mount Juneau Lodge, graduated 32-Degree Scottish Rite, a member of the Shrine Club, past patron of the Order of Eastern Star and the past patron of the Order of Rainbow Girls. He was also a member of the American Legion, a veteran member of Pioneers of Alaska, and a past member of Toastmasters.
Besides his wife, Art was preceded in death by his brothers, William and Walter, son-in-law Leonard Harju and his grandsons, John and George Harju.
He is survived by his children, Joan Harju, Andyne (Bud) Womack, Dan (Lorinda) Kassner of Juneau, and Linda (Paul) Loos of Ann Arbor, Mich.; his grandchildren Frank Harju of Longview, Wash., Doriann (John) Leith of North Pole, David (Gail) Harju of Brainerd, Minn., Lisa (Dan) Tourtellot, Rodney Womack, and Barbara Harju of Juneau, Diane (Mike) Pearsall of Livonia, Mich.; Mark (Tara) Loos of Eading, Pa.; Barbara (Rob) Line of Clarkston, Mich.; Mary (Bill) Demand of Saginaw, Mich.; 13 great grandchildren and two great-great grandsons, as well as several nieces and nephews in Washington and California.
A memorial service will be held at the Juneau Pioneer Home on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Masonic Lodge, P. O. Box 021412, Juneau, AK 99802-1412 or the Pioneers of Alaska, P. O. Box 021005, Juneau, AK 99802-1005.
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