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Obituary of Kenny Lund
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Kenneth Andrew Lund was born February 17, 1945 in Port Gamble, Washington. After serving two tours of duty as a Marine In Vietnam he returned to the States In 1969. Making his home in California he trained to be a heavy equipment mechanic working during the day & going to school at night. When he completed his studies, he moved to Fairbanks, Alaska where the opportunities seemed endless. He worked on the Alaska pipeline; he worked on the Dew-Line, the Distant Early Warning Line, which served as an electronic barrier or eyes in the sky, between the two major Cold War countries, the USSR & the United States. Mostly he worked on White Alice Communications Systems, a United States Air Force radar & telecommunication network (before satellite) where communications towers were set up in winter. Often these sites were remote, isolated and in extremely rugged areas, 14 tons of equipment was taken in by dog sled or helicopter. Electricity was not available at the sites so diesel generators and fuel tanks were used for power, Garters for the technicians in these camps were often connected by a tram system. Prior to White Alice only one phone call at a time could be placed from Nome to Fairbanks to Anchorage where residents had to go to one location in town to make a phone call. He was living a real frontier life which suited him perfectly. At camp during the winter, temperatures could often drop to -50P below O. I remember him saying he could only work and be outside for 20 minutes at a time. When he came home for the holidays in a full beard and long hair, he was barely recognizable and we'd laugh until he got back from the barber. Kenny was an avid traveler and visited places around the world. When he officially retired, he became a retiree in residence in Thailand where the hot humid climate was a welcomed change to the most bitter cold times he had had in Alaska. Living on the beach, he did 5-mile marches in the sand and worked out at the gym. He always called home and he never let too much time pass before he traveled back to the States for visits with his family and friends. He was an exceptional brother, uncle and friend to all touching the hearts of everyone close to him. He always took and spent time with the people he loved and he held a genuine heartfelt interest in those around him who shared his values of no nonsense, no whining and hard work. He never bragged about his accomplishments and he was very humble about his achievements. Kenny's love for family and friends came first albeit just slightly beating out a batch of his sister's homemade chocolate chip cookies. Life was always more fun when he told stories of his travels and adventures. He was generous, honest, intelligent and quick witted, always smiling and making those around him laugh. A close and dear friend mentioned a classic poem well known in the Northern Alaska region, "The Cremation of Sam McGee" written by Robert W. Service, as describing Kenny's relationship with the cold. It made me smile. Johnny Cash - Cremation of Sam McGee: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45081/the-cremation-of-sam-mcgee Kenny will be truly missed by all those whose lives he touched. Pry donations can be made to your local VFW. THE CREMATION OF SAM MCGEE By Robert W. Service There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge I cremated Sam McGee. Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows. He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell; Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell." On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail. Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail. If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see; It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee. And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow, And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe, He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess; And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request." Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan: "It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone. Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains; So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains." A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail; And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale. He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee; And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee. There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven, With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given; It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains, But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains." Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code. In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load. In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring, Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing. And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow; And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low; The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in; And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin. Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay; It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May." And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum; Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum." Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire; Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher; The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see; And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee. Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so; And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow. It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why; And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky. I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear; But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near; I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside. I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide. And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar; And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door. It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm— Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm." There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge I cremated Sam McGee.
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