Koelsch named chamber's Citizen of the Year

Posted: Monday, October 25, 2004

JUNEAU - Ken Koelsch has been named Citizen of the Year by the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

Koelsch served two terms on the Juneau Assembly, his final two years as deputy mayor. He completed his tenure this year.

"His serving on the Assembly is one example of Ken 'walking his talk,'" said chamber past-president Ron Flint, who presented Koelsch with the award Friday. The past presidents select the recipient.

"During his tenure on the Assembly he served on most every, if not every, committee," Flint said. "To paraphrase one of his fellow Assembly mem- bers, Ken was an outstanding member of the Assembly. He was there when you needed him, demonstrated extraordinary leadership, and his calm spirit kept tenuous meetings on the level. His foresight was often right on the money; he was willing to compromise to a degree, but not his principles. Friends and foes knew where he was going to be on an issue, and whether or not they agreed with him, they appreciated that fact."

Koelsch was born and raised on the family farm in Michigan. His grand- parents were first-generation German-Americans.

"His parents instilled in him a deep sense of responsibility to not waste the Earth's resources and to give as much to society as you take," Flint said. "Fortunately Ken also heeded his mother's words when she told him, 'I have two good-looking sons, and you better develop a personality.' "

Koelsch graduated from Michigan State University in 1966 and taught junior high and high school in Michigan. In 1968, Koelsch and his wife, Marian, moved to Juneau, where Koelsch taught, first at Marie Drake Middle School and then for 27 years at Juneau-Douglas High School.

In 1982, Koelsch was selected as Alaska's Teacher of the Year. After retiring as a teacher, Koelsch became a full-time customs official.

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