The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Obituary: Chuck LaPage

 

Chuck LaPage

Long time Alaska resident Charles Frederic LaPage, 82, died peacefully in his sleep August 20, in Anchorage.

Per Chuck's wishes, his family hosted a gathering at his home in Eagle River in place of a funeral. The event was hosted by his two grown children, Meg from Eagle River and Paul from Honolulu and included extended family and friends.

Chuck LaPage was born in Winchendon, Massachusetts on October 13, 1933 and raised by his parents, with his younger brother "Billy," in New Hampshire. He graduated from Conant High School in Jaffrey, and attended Northeastern University in Boston for two years.

Chuck came to Alaska in late 1954 with the "Brown Shoe Army" to complete the final two years of a three-year tour of duty as a Signal Corp Specialist at Fort Richardson by Anchorage and at Camp Wildwood Station in Kenai. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Anne Boardman, and decided to make Alaska his home. Before moving to Alaska full time, he earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. During his time in Kansas he and his wife, Anne, had two children, Marguerite and Paul Arthur.

After moving to Alaska in 1960 with his young family, Chuck worked for Paul Nichols Brokerage and then the Alaska Housing Authority in 1962. Even though his first marriage ended in 1961, they remained lifelong friends and Chuck married Minnie Collins in 1963.

After some time in Kodiak for his job, Chuck and Minnie moved to Valdez in 1964, following the big earthquake. He assisted in relocating the town to higher ground and the short-term job ended in a long-term commitment of 47 years to the City of Valdez. Chuck continued his education by becoming a Certified Public Accountant. His concern and love for Valdez led him to serve on the city council from 1969 to 1984. He also served twice as Mayor Pro Tem from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1979 to 1980, and served a short time as Mayor of Valdez in 1980. While operating as a leading CPA in Valdez, he caught the "flying bug." He earned multiple ratings including Airplane Multiengine Land & Sea, Commercial, Airplane Single Engine Land & Sea, Certified Flight Instructor and Airline Transport Pilot. Over the years, Chuck enjoyed and owned a PA-16, two Cessna 180s and a Widgeon. He also owned and operated two flight-seeing companies, Valdez Aero Services and later Alpine Aviation Adventures. He built two airplane hangers at the Valdez Airport that are still in use today by the aviation community. When the weather was bad he provided tax preparation, accounting services and business management for both individuals and businesses in Valdez, Glennallen, Tatitlik and the surrounding area. When the weather was good he would also provide air transportation to the nearby villages and small towns or pilot a glacier tour with tourists and visitors. He was "Pilot Chuck" to the local villagers and loved being of service to his community.

In addition to Meg and Paul, Chuck is survived by his younger brother Wilbur LaPage of Texas; grandchildren Justin Benson of Anchorage and Mary Myers of Florida; great- grandchildren Jayani Benson and Jazmyn Benson of Anchorage; nephew Kent LaPage and nieces Judy LaPage and Alison Brackett, all of New Hampshire.

Minnie, Chuck's wife of 37 years, who died in 2000, left children and grandchildren who were also important in his life and he enjoyed keeping in touch with them thru the years.

Chuck LaPage was also preceded in death by his parents Wilbur (1996) and Annette LaPage (2002). They had moved to Eagle River in 1968 and helped complete the family "homestead." After Chuck was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010, he moved to Eagle River with his daughter in 2011 to be closer to the rest of the family. His time in Eagle River revealed what a hardworking, independent and creative individual he was and the time he was able to spend with his daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was our greatest blessing.

 

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