Harry Billum Sr. age 88, born January 23, 1925 in Horse creek Alaska, from Chitina Alaska, resided in Anchorage, Alaska since 1956, son of Alice Billum, grandson of John and Mariam Billum of Tonsina Alaska, passed away October 1, 2012. In the mid 1930's Harry moved to Chitina from a large family settlement 8 miles out of Chitina with his mother after she bought a cabin. He attended BIA school before he began working for the Alaska Road Commission as a truck driver at age 14, he went on to join the United States Army
at age 17 during WW II, toured Europe, and met his first wife Helma. Upon returning home to Chitina he resumed a subsistence life and built a cabin for his wife and newborn son Harry Billum Jr. Harry Sr. was saved and turned his life over to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the same day as his mother in 1949.
Harry continued to work many Alaska Highway construction jobs from Seward, to Fairbanks. In 1956 he moved to Anchorage Alaska to work for civil service on constructing and maintaining the needs of Fort Richardson and Elmendorf air force bases. In the 1960's during the construction of Nike site he helped erect the star that sits on the mountains over Anchorage, which lights up every year during the holiday season.
In 1969 and 1970 Harry and his then wife Ester had two children, Lisa and Dale. In 1972 Harry was active in the Alaska Native Land Claims Act. In 1974 Harry worked for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and in 1976 he retired from the Operators Engineers Local 302. He then began an active and vast political career advocating for the people of Ahtna. He was affiliated with Ahtna Incorporated Board of Directors, Chitina Traditional Village Council, active in the Alaska Federation of Natives, and other Chitina entities.
Harry loved helping people and always gave whatever he had, no questions and no expectations. He enjoyed visiting and telling stories wither it was native traditional or an exciting life experience. Sometimes he would even tell of the many people he met over the years such as being close friends with former Governor Bill Egan, famous flyer Mud Hole Smith, Tony Diamond, and seeing heavy weight champion Joe Louis in person. He repeated stories of army expeditionist Lt. Glenn and Lt. Allen that were first told by his Grandpa whom he really loved. He told many stories of Chitina's glory days and of OA Nelson who was a big part of Chitina history
Harry is survived by son, Dale C. Billum (Veronica J. Billum); daughter, Lisa Vansant-Small (Bill Small). Unofficial daughters, Carmel Robinson, Carrie Robinson; granddaughters, Cynthia Beshaw, Alice~sah Billum, Diane "Ricole" Small; grandsons, Harry Billum III, Denae "Chang" Billum, Jaysen Harry Robinson, Odell Burse, William Small and Charles Small. Two great-grandsons, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Funeral Services are Friday October 11, 2013 11:30 a.m., at Evergreen Memorial Chapel 737 E Street Anchorage, Alaska, followed by a private burial at Fort Richardson National Cemetery.
The family would like and encourage everyone to become educated about mesothelioma and asbestos awareness.
Arrangements are with Janssen Funeral Homes.