Charlie Burnham

December 1928 – October 2010

 Charles Lester “Charlie” Burnham, 81, died quietly at his home in Skagway on October 12, 2010, surrounded by his family. Charlie was born December 26, 1928, in Plains, Montana  to John and Dicie Mae Burnham. He worked summers with his dad in mines around that area. He graduated from Plains High School in 1947, and went to work in a sawmill.
He came to Skagway with his brother John in February of ‘48 to visit their  sister Dorothy. He happened to find a job that was easier than working at the sawmill. After about six months he went back to Montana and married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Knapp, on September 11, 1948.
They helped out at the mine for a month, before returning to Skagway, October 14th, where he fathered three sons, a daughter, then three more sons. He’s probably best known for his humor, quick wit, and ability to tell a story. The old folks say, “Charlie was also very entertaining with his fire eating abilities.”    
Charlie went to work for Standard Oil for a number of years. Then he went into the bar business for a few years, the Igloo and the Pack Train. After that he went to work at the Tank Farm, and worked there until he retired in 1994. In his spare time he did a lot of extra work, like painting houses, fences, and pretty much remodeling the “Big ol’ House.”  He was also the first one to call if you needed help with just about anything.
When Charlie was younger he liked hunting, fishing, exploring, hiking, etc. After retirement, he really enjoyed going to Portage to fish, pick blueberries, or just going for a boat ride.
Charlie was a quiet man, quite knowledgeable about most things, and when he did speak, most people listened. He always had a twinkle in his eye and usually  a smile on his face. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed.
Charlie was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Evan; and his two sons: Charles Jr. “Chuck” and Dan. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joyce; his daughter Julie; his four sons: Steve; Albert and his wife Elizabeth; Ken; Jay and his wife Willeke, all living in Skagway; his sister Dorothy Johnson and brother Ed, both of Plains, Montana; Brother John and his wife Delores of Tok, Alaska; 20 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Charlie chose not to have a church service. In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to the Skagway Fire Department or Apollo MT.
    There will be a Celebration of Life at the Elks on Saturday, November 6, at 3:00 pm. Everyone is welcome.
– Submitted by the family

Sandra Knapp
November 1939 – September 2010

 Sandra Kay Knapp, age 70, a resident of Elma, Washington since 2000, died on September 30, 2010, at her home.
Mrs. Knapp was born on November 24, 1939, in Juneau, Alaska to Samuel Alexander and Ruth Belva (Brundige) Nelson. She was raised in Skagway.
While her husband Dick was serving in the US Military, the couple lived in numerous locations including Japan, California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. After his discharge in 1988, they settled in the Auburn/Kent area. There, Sandra worked for SeaFirst National Bank, now Bank of America. In 2000, they retired to Elma.
Surviving relatives include her husband Dick of the family home in Elma; a daughter and her husband Dondi Sue and Ron Jocheim of Greeley, Colorado; two sisters and their husbands, Sheila and Tom Mason of Skagway and Darlene and Carl Hoover of Skagway; and an uncle and his wife, Bob Brundige and Rita Lillyberg of Arizona City, Arizona. One sister, Bonnye Boynton died previously.
Sandra loved crafts of most any kind and enjoyed working on her computer and her many computer friends.
A celebration of life gathering will be held in Skagway at a later date.
Cremation arrangements were by the Coleman Mortuary in Hoquiam.
Please take a few moments to record your thoughts for the family by signing the on-line register at

Frank loved his Fairweather girls. Photo courtesy of Missy Irle

Frank Wiggins
April 1927– October 2010

Former Skagway resident Frank Wiggins died in England on Oct. 16, 2010, after being hospitalized with pneumonia. He was 83.
Wiggins was a long-time marine superintendent for Holland America-Westours. After working on larger vessels in the fleet, he was assigned in 1978 to building the M.V. Fairweather, a day boat that would operate successfully for several years shuttling Westours passengers between Skagway and Juneau. He eventually retired after more than 35 years with the company, and then divided his time between Florida and his native England.
Frank and Pat were married 31 years. Wiggins was well respected in the marine field, and made many friends.
One of his first employees, Missy Meister, who now lives in Minnesota, visited Wiggins often in Florida.
“There was not a man more positive and optimistic than Frank Wiggins,” Meister said. “He remains with all of us in many ways especially guiding us to become better individuals. He touched people’s lives in a positive way.  He was a gift to all who knew him. 
“He was just so much for the people…. What boss do you go hang with all these years?”
Another former employee, Karla Nore of Washington, said: “He was a great man who touched the hearts and shaped the lives of all who worked with Frank. He was such a good friend to so many of us. He used to say that ‘Friends are the family that you get to pick.’”
She added that he worked hard and asked a lot from his employees, who “would do almost anything he asked.” This included staying an extra week to help out when he was short-staffed.
“How do you say no to someone who would do anything for you?” she concluded.  “There are many of us who would agree that Frank was the best boss and friend we’ve ever had.”
Wiggins enjoyed his last visit to Skagway and seeing old friends in 2007.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son Jamie and daughter Frances, both of Vancouver, BC, and five grandchildren.
A service was held in England on Oct. 26, and another is being planned in Seattle next spring.
Condolences may be sent to Pat Wiggins, Stoke Lodge, 31 Chyngton Road, Seaford, East Sussex, England BN25 4HN.