Eugene "Gene" Kulawik (1929 - 2017)

Obituary
2 entries
  • "Mary, What a life well lived. I am sorry for your loss."
    - Mary Lou Johnson
  • "Mary: Very sad to see this notice in the paper this..."
    - Denise Ganopole
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Eugene "Gene" L. Kulawik was born in Fargo, N.D., on May 27, 1929. He died on July 7, 2017, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hospital near Anchorage, Alaska, of complications from Parkinson's disease. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, East 18th Street, on Aug. 11, 2017, at 2 p.m.
Gene attended school in Austin, Minn.; Huron, S.D.; and Missoula, Mont.; and started college in Missoula. He left college to work for the State of Montana surveying roads. In 1955, he joined the Navy and, after the Korean War ended, he returned to college on the GI bill.
Graduating, in 1957, from the Montana State University at Bozeman, Gene was hired by Peter Kiewit Sons Co. Inc., his first choice in construction companies. He worked throughout the Northwest and Alaska doing heavy construction, mainly building roads, but also a minuteman missile site. When he transferred to Alaska, in 1964, he worked on significant highway links, for example, the Chena Hot Springs Road outside Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Steese Highway near Chatanika, Alaska. From 1970-1971, he oversaw work to complete the highway link between Anchorage and Fairbanks through Healy Canyon past Denali National Park.
Gene met Mary Morse in Fairbanks and they married September 1969, in Fairbanks. Gene was working on clearing Gravina Island in Ketchikan, Alaska, for construction of the airport there. After their honeymoon, Mary returned to work in Fairbanks while
Gene continued his work until the end of the construction season.
The most challenging job Gene undertook was work on the trans-Alaska pipeline.
Peter Kiewit Sons Co. called Gene to their home office in Omaha, Neb., to do preliminary work on a pipeline bid that included flying to Tulsa, Okla., where he worked until April 1975, then delivering the bid proposal to San Francisco, Calif. Peter Kiewit Sons Co. was part of a joint venture called Arctic Constructors. That entity was awarded the bid to build sections 5 and 6, the two northernmost sections of the trans-Alaska pipeline. Gene worked up north until spring 1976, when Kiewit pulled him to bid on other jobs. Later that year, Gene was again sent north to Prudhoe Bay, for more pipeline work. The first oil flowed to Valdez, Alaska, in August 1977. That same month Kiewit moved its company offices and the Kulawik family to Anchorage.
Into the 1980s, Gene continued bidding work and overseeing construction for Kiewit, including the Keystone Canyon job outside Valdez. In 1985, he retired and the Kiewit Co. hosted a retirement party for him at the Anchorage Tower Club. Thereafter,
Gene partnered with David Argetsinger, formerly a competitor, to provide engineering consulting services.
At age 67, Gene went to work for the State of Alaska Department of Transportation. As
Director of Maintenance and Operations he oversaw many of Alaska's state-owned roads, bridges and rural airports. In 2001, after he retired again, Gene and Mary traveled some. They cruised from Anchorage to Vancouver for his 80th birthday. Mary and Gene sold their home in 2006, and moved to the condominium where Mary remains. In his later years, Gene suffered a series of serious medical problems. He lived for several years at Prestige Care before moving to the Anchorage Pioneer Home. In both facilities he received excellent care, which was much appreciated by both Gene and his family. Throughout his retirement, visits from family, staff and friends were his greatest pleasure.
Gene is survived by his wife, Mary; children, Alan E. Kulawik (Susan Sund Kulawik) and Callie M. Kulawik; and one granddaughter, Annika, all of California. Gene's extended family resides outside Alaska and includes: his sister, Claire Kasala (Jerry Kasala) in Kalispell, Mont.; his brother, Don Kulawik of Ephrata, Wash.; and nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be considered to either the Alzheimer's Resource Center of Alaska, www.alzalaska.org; or Alaska Public Media, www.alaskapublic.org.
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Aug. 1 to Aug. 2, 2017
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