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


McBride remembered for stories, practical jokes


Bob McBride

During his 20 or so years in Haines, equipment operator Bob McBride liked practical jokes and playing Santa at holiday gatherings. “He loved doing that,” said daughter Sandi Filipowicz.

McBride died of a heart attack June 10 in Great Falls, Mont. He was 76. He had lived there since moving from Haines in 1989.

Robert Dale McBride Sr. was born May 30, 1936 in Yakima, Wash. to Robert Waters and Donna McBride. He was raised by his grandparents who had a ranch on the Fairfield Bench near Choteau, Mont.

He served in Germany during the Korean conflict, as an Army paratrooper and in the tank division, according to his family.

After the service, he worked as rancher and long-haul truck driver. He was driving truck into Haines in the 1960s when he got stranded with the local road crew in a snowstorm near 75 Mile, said daughter Shari Van Cleve.

“He liked those guys so much he just decided to move to Haines,” Van Cleve said.

McBride married and lived here in the 1960s. He moved south and returned with a second wife in 1973, taking a job at the Alaska Forest Products mill at Jones Point. He also had a local snow-plowing business, worked as an equipment operator during construction of the trans-Alaska Pipeline and as a truck driver at Lynden Transport, his family said.

Contractor Kenny Waldo said McBride’s storytelling could draw a crowd over coffee at Tunnel’s Drive-In, current site of Tlingit Ink.

“He had a lot of good stories to tell. He did so many different things and he knew a lot of jokes, Waldo said. “He was funny.”

McBride’s stories included working on the “Cat-wagon” that hauled trailers and other equipment toward the North Slope during construction of the unauthorized “Hickel Highway” to the North Slope in the late 1960s.

Sheri Van Cleve said when she got her first job, waitressing at the drive-in, her dad told her to get to work with enough time before her shift. “He said, ‘Get to work with enough time to have a cup of coffee and a cigarette (but) if I catch you with a cigarette, I’ll kill you.’”

McBride was a longtime member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Elks. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, and camping. He worked briefly as a trucker in Montana after leaving Haines, family members said. In his later years, he went everywhere with his loving dog, “Bear”.

McBride is survived by his daughters, Cathy Chavez and husband Raymond of Laredo, Texas; Shari Van Cleve and husband Herb of Tracy, Mont .; Sandi Filipowicz and husband Tom of Great Falls and Kelly Stubbs of Great Falls; a son and daughter-in-law, Robert Dale and Liane McBride, Jr. of Hondo, Texas; sisters Marion St. Germain and Toni Hendershot and husband Wayne, all of Great Falls; 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by both of his parents. Memorials in McBride’s name can be made to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, #1087, 4123 10th Ave South, Great Falls, Mont ., 59405.

A memorial service was to be held at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel on June 13 at 2 p.m.

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