Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Former teacher, police officer Carlyle Stuart dies in Oregon


September 22, 2011

Carlyle Stuart, a former Haines schoolteacher and running coach who served as a reserve police officer and acting Mayor of the City of Haines, died Sunday in Coos Bay, Ore. from complications of cancer. He was 76.

Stuart arrived in Haines in 1974 and worked in schools here until 1990, when he returned to his home state of Oregon.

He was hired to teach eighth-grade social studies and English but also coached cross-country for 11 years and track and field for six years.

"He was a no-nonsense guy in the classroom," said former teacher and co-worker Terry Sharnbroich. "He did not put up with anything. Kids knew where they stood with him. In junior high, that’s important. The kids liked him. They respected that."

Stuart was an enthusiast for new ventures. He opened a store in his home selling running shoes when none were available here, and served four years on the Iditarod sled dog race committee while teaching in Nome in the early 1970s. The 1,000-mile race started in 1973.

Students in his Haines classes kept daily tabs on Iditarod races and Stuart kept more than a dozen sled dogs here that he would run at Chilkat Pass.

Resident Bill Stacy, who arrived here in 1985, recalled those outings. "We’d go up to the pass and he’d show me how to race the dogs. We’d take home-made biscuits and chili and a thermos of hot coffee. We’d spend all day up there and have a heck of a time."

Stacy and Stuart served in the city police reserves at a time when reserve officers filled in for sick officers, working shifts and riding solo patrol. "In a war situation, he’s the guy you’d want to have with you. He’d cover your backside. He was a good man."

Stuart also organized the first bicycle rodeos here aimed at teaching youngsters safe riding practices.

Stacy met Stuart at Linfield College, where they were undergraduates. "I was on the wrestling team and debate. Carlyle was track and baseball. We were like-minded individuals who found each other and had a good time together."

In Haines, Stuart raised rabbits for food, which provided fertilizer for a large garden he kept that included tomatoes and cucumbers, Stacy said. "My wife took first place at the fair for her flowers and her secret ingredient was his manure."

In Nome, Stuart and his wife and two daughters lived in rough quarters and he would stretch the food budget by hunting ptarmigan, Stacy said. "That was an adventure to them. Carlyle would just jump in (to new challenges)."

After an unsuccessful run for Haines City Council in 1983, Stuart defeated John Schnabel in 1984 to win a one-year council term. He was elected to three-year council terms in 1985 and 1988. He lost a mayoral bid to Frank Wallace in 1987.

In Oregon, Stuart helped launch a Wal-Mart store in Coos Bay, where he later worked as automotive manager. He was a member of two classic car clubs and owned two Edsels, a Packard, a 68 GTO and 1952 Chevy. He was also a member of Gideons International.

"He was a good man," said daughter Regina Benzel. "He was my best friend, my confidante and my rock."

David Carlyle Stuart was born in North Bend, Ore. on Aug. 27, 1935 to David and Snow Stuart. He was a graduate of North Bend High School and Linfield College. He held a master’s degree in administrative education from Oregon State University.

Stuart is survived by wife Faye Hale of North Bend, Ore .; brother Steve Stuart of Wasilla; daughters Regina Benzel of Camano Island, Wash ., and Rhonda M. Hinson of Haines; stepdaughters Vickie Rose of Creswell, Ore ., Renea Didomenico of Beaverton, Ore. and Leslie Elliott of Rock Springs, Wyo; and by eight grandchildren.

A memorial was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24 at First Baptist Church in Coos Bay. Memorials can be sent to Gideons International, P.O. Box 622, Coquille, Ore. 97423.