I met Oscar when we first moved here in April 1998. I was walking down the street and he hailed me from his truck and asked if I needed a ride. I told him no, I was happy walking. I always regretted that, I should have ridden with him then and gotten to know him better than I did. Oscar was born on this day, November 25 1918 in Skagway. He spent most of his life here in Skagway working for White Pass, marrying and having children. After his first wife, Alice died he often visited her grave at the Pioneer Cemetery. Every Memorial Day for many years, Oscar would clean up around her grave, and those of other family members and old friends.
A few years later, Oscar met Judy Camp, a veterinarian whom he had befriended while hiking the trails and picking up trash. He took her with him when he decided to re-measure the width of the valley and tell the new editor his findings. Oscar and Judy also loved singing together and they were married in 1979.
After his White Pass years, Oscar never really retired. He served on the city council a time or two, and ran the senior citizens program for 11 years. He was proud of being “Mr. February” in the “Seniors on the Last Frontier 1988 Calendar,” and even prouder of his senior gold pass to Skagway School activities. He was a lifetime member of the Eagles and Elks, and a member of the Juneau Igloo of the Pioneers of Alaska. As Skagway’s longest living resident, he was called on in 1997 to unveil the Centennial Statue, along with members of the valley’s oldest family, the Dennis’s.
Late in life, with his health in decline, Oscar still liked to spend time on the benches downtown or riding around in his cart greeting friends and visitors. He entertained various writers and even joked with one last summer that he might not be home later because he bounced around town “faster than a fart on a skillet.”
If you caught up with him in a restaurant, he usually had an old photo in his pocket and a story to tell over many half cups of coffee. If he got your interest, he might bring along a prop for the next time he saw you.
He died in 2000 and is truly missed by me and many others.
from personal reminiscences and a 2000 “Skagway News” obit.