Sept. 1938 – Sept. 2009
Kurtis K. “Kurt” Kosters of Skagway passed away at his home on Sept. 23, 2009 at the age of 71.
Kurt was born Sept. 19, 1938 in Grangeville, Idaho to Anthony and Dena Kosters. He attended school at the Christian Schools in Lynden, Washington. At age 17, Kurt enlisted in the Army for two years as an M.P. He then joined the forestry department in order to fight forest fires in the interior of Alaska.
Kurt lived in Blaine, Washington for several years. It was there that he met and married Rosemary Lawton in May 1963. Together they lived and worked throughout Alaska, and then moved back to Blaine, where Kurt opened his first antiques store.
Kurt and Rose had three children, Anthony, Kody and Angela, who sadly died a few days after her birth. Eventually Kurt went back to Alaska in search of work. In 1969 he chose to settle in Skagway.
Most of Kurt’s adult life, he was a cabinet maker and builder. As a hobby he enjoyed working with wood, ivory, jade, etc., and making some unusual and beautiful items, including several totem poles. Some of Kurt’s handiwork can be found in the Skagway Museum. He was a truly gifted artist. He also enjoyed traveling (Europe, Asia, Africa), reading, crossword puzzles, and spending time with his kitties, “Keeper” and “Lady”.
Those of us who were closest to Kurt understand what a character he was, with his quick wit and unique sense of humor. He spoke his mind and lived life how he wanted to. During his early years in Skagway, he opened several businesses. The Trading Post always had sawdust on the floor, peanut barrel always full, and an antique barber chair in the middle of the store where musicians would gather to jam. You never knew who would take Kurt up on his pitch to “roll the dice” to see what an item would cost. “Double or nothing,” Kurt would offer. The extra money he made might make the difference at his weekly, late night poker game.
Several who call Alaska home are here because of Kurt.
He is survived by his two loving and caring sons, Tony and Kody, also of Skagway; his brother, Lee Roy of Michigan; five sisters, Dorothy Crabtree of Modesto, Calif., Phyllis Zylstra of Bothell, Wash., Mae Rose Tiesinga of Birch Bay, Wash., and Joyce Kok and Patty Vander Veen of Lynden, Wash.
He also leaves two very dear friends, Vanessa Flynn and Dawn Nelson, both of Skagway, who aided and gave him much comfort, along with Barbara Miller, during his four years of dealing with cancer.
Interment will be in Monumenta Cemetery in Lynden at a later date.
Kurt (Dad), you were loved and you will be missed.
– Submitted by the family