Strong boosted village activities


Klukwan residents said they would remember Fred Strong for his smoked salmon, gentle good humor, and contributions to village life. Strong, 62, died at his Klukwan home Dec. 28.

Fred Strong, or Kaawashti-Shookshaana.`eesh, was of the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan clan. He was born in Haines on June 20, 1952, the eighth son of Jerry and Abby Strong. His mother was a homemaker from Klukwan who worked seasonally at the Letnikof Cove cannery. His father had a shoe repair shop and owned and operated a downtown restaurant. Fred attended Haines elementary school and high school but spent middle school years in San Jose, Calif., where the family lived for several years.

He worked a variety of jobs, including house painter, gillnet fisherman, longshoreman and truck driver. He operated a small sawmill in Klukwan and worked on the North Slope. He was married twice and had three children with his second wife, Marilyn Lapp. His life centered on his village and family.

For the past 20 years, Strong spent summers fishing in Klukwan, supplying neighbors and family members with fresh and smoked salmon caught in the river there. He traded salmon for moose with Yukon friends.

"Fred's smokehouse was going all summer long," said sister Lani Hotch. Her brother always brought his first sockeye of the season to her house and had her gather other siblings for a boiled fish feast.

Strong taught at the Klukwan summer salmon camps for 12 years. "He knew better than all of us how to cut thin, wide strips of dryfish. We can still hear him telling his students 'It's a knife not a saw!'" Hotch said. One group of students composed a jingle to go along with his instructions. "He got a big kick out of that," she said.

Strong's grandsons attend the Klukwan School, where he'd stop regularly. "He'd drop whatever he was doing to bring (forgotten items) up to them," Hotch said. Strong often cooked meals for the school lunch program and was called on to help with functions of the Klukwan Alaska Native Sisterhood.

"He never turned down the ANS," sister Kimberley Strong said.

Fred Strong is survived by children Jeremy Bo Strong, Felecia Dawn Strong, and Adeline Strong; grandchildren Taylor Hildre, and Kyle, David, Calvin, Jayden, and Malachi Strong; brothers Ralph, Gene, Chip, Tony, Jim, Dave, Jack, and Henry Strong; sisters Lani Hotch and Kimberley Strong, nieces and nephews.


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