Roderick Bain

  • "My father and I sailed along side Rod and the Donelle B for..."
    - Thomas Eldridge
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    - Laurie and Pete Toye

Long-time Alaskan Roderick G. Bain, 91, died peacefully at home in Anchorage on February 5, 2014. Mr. Bain was born May 13, 1922, in Portland, Oregon to Roderick M. and Sophie Bain. He was raised in Long Beach, Washington, graduating from Illwaco High School in 1940. He was in his freshman year at the University of Washington in Seattle when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, and he enlisted the following summer at Fort Lewis, Washington. He volunteered for the 101st Airborne Division, and trained for two years with Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment before making combat parachute jumps into Normandy and Holland, and surviving the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium.

When the war ended, Mr. Bain continued his education at Western Washington Teacher's College (now Western Washington University) and commercially fished during the summers in Ketchikan, Alaska with the Cunningham family. After graduation, he married his classmate, Donelle Mosier. The newlyweds took a steamship to the Territory of Alaska in 1951, where they taught school in Kake, Petersburg, and Anchorage. Mr. Bain taught sixth grade at North Star, Inlet View, and O'Malley, retiring from the Anchorage School District in 1976. Each summer, from 1965, he skippered his own drift gillnetter in Bristol Bay, finally retiring in 1997 at age 75.

Surprising him in retirement was the fame that came to his Airborne unit when HBO produced the 10-part mini-series "Band of Brothers," based on the Stephen Ambrose book of the same name. Mr. Bain travelled with his family to Paris in 2001 for the HBO world premiere, and spent his remaining years travelling with his war buddies to visit today's generation of soldiers on morale tours and in hospitals. Last spring he was made the honorary First Sergeant of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry Regiment. Although he was a decorated veteran and Bronze Star recipient, Mr. Bain was most proud of his 157-yard Hole in One Award from Moose Run golf course. Cognizant to the end, he died reassured that his Seattle Seahawks had won their first Super Bowl championship.

His survivors include his wife of 63 years, Donelle, their daughters Ella (Fred) Eaton, Ann (Bruce) Winegarden, and Donna Bain; his sister Janet Bain Jacobson; and grandchildren Thomas Winegarden, Douglas Winegarden, Tiana Farquhar, and Roderick Farquhar; as well as many loving nieces, nephews and friends. He is preceded in death by his sister Jeriann Peterson, brother Glenn Spriggs, and by his sons Roy Ellison Bain and Alan Lee Bain.

Graveside interment with full military honors will be conducted on Ft. Richardson February 13, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. Memorial service and reception will follow at 2 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 2610 East Northern Lights Blvd.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Hospice of Anchorage or the UAA Blueliners Booster Club.

Published in Anchorage Daily News from Feb. 9 to Feb. 10, 2014
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