OBITUARIES

Clair Litzenberger, 1922-2006

Former Skagway resident Clair Litzenberger, born in Endicott, Wash. on March 24, 1922, passed away on April 9, 2006 at his home in Mesa, Ariz.
Clair was a long time resident of Skagway. He moved here from Spokane, Wash. in 1948. Clair was an engineer on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad and would always be remembered as the engineer wearing the Dodgers baseball cap.
He retired in 1986 and moved to Phoenix, Ariz. He was preceded in death by his first wife Lillian.
Clair is survived by his wife, June Litzenberger of Mesa; son, Dave Banks of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho; brother, George Litzenberger of Spokane; and cousin and friend, Ray Litzenberger of Mesa. A service is planned in Rockford, Wash.

Danny Kalen, October 9, 1947-March 31, 2006

Baby brother or big brother depending on which sister you talk to, youngest son, uncle, father, beloved grandpa, pard/friend; Danny Edward Kalen was all of these and more. Danny passed away late Friday afternoon, March 31, at his home in Juneau. He was diagnosed with and treated for both lung and brain cancer 10 years ago in 1996 at the Veteran’s Hospital in Seattle. The brain tumor caused irreparable nerve damage and, much to his disgust, Danny found himself in early retirement.
Danny was born in Skagway, October 9, 1947 to Edward J. and Barbara Dedman Kalenkosky. “Kal” was an army sergeant from Pennsylvania stationed in Skagway during the 2nd World War. The Dedman family were Skagway pioneers, Danny’s great-grandparents, George and Clara Dedman, arrived in 1898. Their son, Henry, was born in Skagway in 1899. Henry married Bessie White, a schoolteacher from Florida, and then along came Barbara. Kal and Barbara had four children. Danny was the third in line.
Little Kalen, Bigham, Boynton and Mason kids shared their First Communion under the severe tutelage of Sister Mary Joseph at the Pius X Mission. Danny and Patrick, with their buddy, Charley Mason, made sure she didn’t suffer any dull moments in life. I remember a rare calm winter day when we woke up to 12-14’ of snow on the ground. Danny and Charley, in kindergarten, decided the snow was too deep to walk all the way up to the Mission School so they spent the morning playing in an empty lot just out of sight of the parents. They swore it was worth the lickings they got. Danny was a cute little rascal who turned out to be one of the best baby-sitters in town as he approached his high school years, getting more jobs than his sisters did.
Danny graduated from East High School in Anchorage, and then joined the Army. On his return to Skagway he worked for the City Public Works Department and served a term on the city council while he was in his twenties, one of the youngest members ever elected. He shifted to the engine service after doing the requisite gandy dancing on the WP&YR, and managed to win the spike driving contest one fine 4th of July. When the WP&YR closed for several years during the 80s he moved to Fairbanks to work for the Alaska RR. Danny’s last and favorite job was working for the Alaska Highway Dept. in Juneau where he lived the last 15 years.
Before the nerve damage, he was a good rifleman, pool shark, pinochle player and guitarist. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and even berry picking on occasion, claiming the best berry patches were around Hoonah. In recent years Danny could generally be found at the Triangle in Juneau with his cribbage and pinochle cronies. An avid reader all his life, afternoons would be spent with a good book.
Danny is survived by his mother, Barbara Kalen, siblings, Betsy Albecker of Skagway, Patrick and Barbie Kalen of Fairbanks, his daughter, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mary Dejnozka and his grandchildren, Matthew and Alison, of Anchorage, nephews, Dale Albecker of Oklahoma and Karl Kalen of Seattle and niece, Averill Harp of Skagway. Last but not least, his lent time companion, Bernice Donnelly of Juneau. At his request there will be no public service. A private memorial service was held at the Juneau Elks Lodge on April 6.
Contributions to your favorite cancer charity in his name are welcome. – Betsy Albecker