Thomas Young Sr.


Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Thomas Young Sr., 97, died Dec. 12 at SEARHC-Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.

A memorial Panikhida will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Sitka. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at Sitka Memorial Park, and after the graveside service, a ceremony and luncheon will be held at the ANB Hall in Sitka.

He was born on Apr. 15, 1906, in Klukwan, to Kindagein John Shorty and Sa.aaxw Frances Shorty. His Tlingit name was Kaajeetguxeex. He was a Raven Gaanaxteidi, Shungukeidi yado and Chookaneidi yadi. He originated from the Xixch Hit, or Frog House, in Klukwan and was the caretaker of the Salmon Hole House, the IshKa Hit.

Later in life, he was adopted in the Luknax.adi by Annie Joseph. In 1918, he attended the Sitka Trading School, which later became Sheldon Jackson. Although he only formally completed the third grade, he learned to read charts and a compass at the age of nine. But he had a difficult time speaking English. He passed the Navy navigation tests during World War II while serving as a merchant mariner on an LST between Sitka and Kodiak.

He became a navigator and commercial fisherman, fishing on his father's boat, the Necker Bay, and the Perseverance with Tom Sanders. In 1936, he bought the Helen H and fished it until retiring. He also owned a trolling boat, the Donna Joy.

He was a lifelong member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 1 and the St. Gabriel and St. Michael Brotherhoods. He was also a shareholder of Sealaska and Shee Atika corporations.

On Nov. 26, 1935, he married Charlotte Littlefield, the daughter of John and Annie Littlefield, at St. Michael's Cathedral. Married nearly 50 years, the couple had eight children. They also adopted Stan Filler, Russell James, Ed Mercer and Alla Kan to his extended family.

In 1931, he, his brother John Young Jr. and their fathers, David Young, John Young Sr. and Charles Young Sr., built the Little Iceberg House, which was the Chookaneidi Tribal House in Sitka.

He and his family shared a love for the Russian Orthodox Church. He did much of the finish carpentry with his own hands, including candle stands, altar doors, crosses, choir stands, shelves and tables. Most of his craftsmanship was made in the memory of loved ones who had passed away before him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frances Shorty Young and John Young Sr.; wife, Charlotte Young; children, Lester Young, Pearl Widmark Dick and Henry Young; brothers, John Shorty and John A. Young Jr. (who was lost at sea); and sisters, Maude Jimmy, Agnes Price and Mary Young Paul.

Along with the spouses and families of his children, he is survived by his nephews, Harry (Irene) Jimmy, Thomas Katzeek and Smith Katzeek and their families; nieces, Ruth Kaska and Trudy Wolfe and her family; and sister-in-law, Jessie Young and her children.

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