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


Spirited Satterwhite treated all like family


December 22, 2011

Bobbie Douglas Satterwhite, 60, of Haines died Dec. 11 at his home in Haines. A cause of death was not immediately known, but Satterwhite had suffered for years from respiratory ailments, family members said.

Satterwhite was born in Brownfield, Texas, the sixth of eight children of Robbie Douglas Satterwhite and Bertha Jennings. In 1964, his family moved to northwest Oregon, where Bobbie was a standout basketball player for Willamina High School, said sister Floy Manning.

After high school, Satterwhite worked in an egg-processing plant in California and harvested fruit in Oregon, Washington and California. He came to Alaska in the 1980s, working in a cannery in Kodiak and as a woodcutter in Homer.

He moved here in the early 1990s, joining family members, including his mother. In recent years he was unable to work due to a frostbite injury to his feet, Manning said. "Everybody liked him. He was a giving person. He got along with everybody Everyone called him Uncle Doug."

Grand-niece Krystal Lloyd said Satterwhite’s jobs ranged from catching chickens to working as a handyman. He was an outdoorsman who taught her how to chop wood, but he also had a self-effacing sense of humor, she said.

On a day she had to walk down an ice-covered Fourth Avenue hill to get to school, her father told her to follow Uncle Doug, who, he said, had crossed the ice several times without falling.

After falling once, Lloyd made her way down by following a roadside ditch, but Satterwhite stayed on the icy road, falling a half-dozen times. "At the bottom of the hill, he stopped, looked at me, and said, ‘There. That’s how not to walk on ice.’ I laughed the whole way to school."

She said she would especially remember how Satterwhite treated others.

"With uncle Doug, everybody was family, regardless of blood. He was full of spirit and very optimistic. No matter who you were he always made you feel the best. Every woman he met was beautiful, regardless of who you were. He always said I’m a lover, not a fighter," Lloyd said. "He loved a good party."

She said Satterwhite died on his deceased mother’s birthday. "We all say it was simply because he wanted to go to her party in heaven. He missed his mother dearly."

Satterwhite is survived by sisters Floy Manning of Haines, Georgia Steele of Wasilla, Loveta Carnes of Modesto, Calif., and Dora Grogan of Modesto; brothers Raymond of Modesto, Johnny of Anchorage, Carl of Salome, Ariz.; by step-brother Ricky Coe of Haines, and by son Robbie Satterwhite of Washington state.

Satterwhite’s remains will be buried at Jones Point. An April memorial service is planned.