Jack Rowan Kelm


Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Former Juneau resident Jack Rowan Kelm, 77, died Nov. 3, 2005, at his Beach Road home in Haines of a suspected heart attack.

He was born Jan. 31, 1928, in Pittsburg. He first moved to the Chilkat Valley about 35 years ago as a social worker and special education teacher for the Haines school.

According to his wife of 30 years, Diana, he used a corner of the school library for students with behavioral or learning problems. He also reached out to students in creative ways.

He was proud of his military service, enlisting in the Army shortly after high school and helping in early mop-up and rebuilding efforts in Japan at the end of World War II.

Back in the states, he was active in the American Legion and volunteered as a post finance officer.

He spent his early professional career in the Midwest and later worked in Juneau, where he was active in the political scene. A one-time assembly candidate, he often campaigned for others.

The Kelms moved back to Haines from Juneau in 1999. He tackled much of the work renovating their new home and was undeterred by the cabin's lack of plumbing or electricity.

He enjoyed cooking, chess and conversation. Shortly after moving to Haines, he helped bring the local chess club online so members could compare game results and standings. He also worked as a tour guide, offering tales of the Chilkat Valley to visitors.

He is survived by his wife; children, Eric, Debby, Kathy, Paul and Christine; four grandchildren; and faithful German shepherd, Caleb. He was buried Nov. 8, 2005, at Jones Point Cemetery.

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