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


Stecher helped sell antiques


John Stecher

John Stecher, an amiable retiree who helped his wife operate an antique store on Main Street, died April 15 at age 85. He had been suffering complications of a stroke.

Stecher was born to steel mill worker John Henry Stecher, Sr. and Julia Frien in Youngstown, Ohio on April 10, 1929. He attended school there and worked in the steel mill before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

He served 22 years in communications in the U.S. Air Force, with assignments in Thailand, Okinawa, United Kingdom, Canada and the Lower 48. He retired in 1969 as a master sergeant at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.

He moved to Wisconsin, working 17 years as a business agent for United Fabricators, in Dresser, Wis ., and Stillwater, Minn. He also returned to Alaska on fishing trips. Stecher enjoyed woodworking as a hobby, making items such as clocks and bird houses that he sold at flea markets.

He met his future wife, Dorothy, at her antique shop in Amery, Wis. He was selling small furniture and silver items he'd bought while stationed in England and Scotland. "His wife at the time didn't care for antiques," Dorothy Stecher said.

In 1988, Stecher suffered a stroke that left him partially disabled on his right side. His wife died in 1992. He returned to Alaska to join Dorothy, who had moved to Alaska and opened Moose Horn Antiques on Main Street in 1986.

They married in 1993 and operated the store until 2003. "He loved going to garage sales in Haines as much as I did. We were doing that right up to the end – almost. Not that we needed anything."

Friend Bill McRoberts said he enjoyed Stecher's company on trips to 33 Mile for a bite to eat. "He was just a quiet person. That was his nature."

Stecher was a Mason, joining the Scottish Rite in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Wisconsin and The American Legion Lynn Canal Post 12 in Haines.

Stecher was preceded in death by his parents, sister Hilda, and wife Blanche. He is survived by wife Dorothy, her son Roger, daughter-in-law Wendy and granddaughter Kisa.

Pallbearers were Roger Bergstand, Bill Stacy, Glen Livingood, Scott Bradford, Randy Sloper and John Newton. George Campbell played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. Stecher was buried at Jones Point April 18 with military graveside services by the local American Legion and Neil Little playing "Taps."