Rodney Burgh

  • "Don and Patti, Colleen and Bill, I'm not sure you remember..."
    - Rodger Hackstock
  • "Rod, Already we miss seeing you and your family;..."
    - Eugene
  • "To Patti, Don, Colleen & Bill, Please accept my deepest..."
    - Rae Jean Frank
  • "The first time I met Rod was when he picked me up at the..."
    - Patsy Stratton
  • "To the Burgh family, I have known your Dad for the past 40..."
    - Penny May

Lifelong Alaskan Rodney "Rod" Burgh, 88, died peacefully surrounded by family at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage Nov. 26, 2010.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Saint Patrick's Parish, 2111 Muldoon Road, with a reception afterward. Burial will be in the spring at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

Rod was born in Snohomish, Wash., on Nov. 5, 1922, and traveled as an infant with his parents to Ketchikan via the Alaska Steamship Co. His dad was an early pioneer, first coming to Skagway in 1909 to go over the Chilkoot Trail and into the Lake Kluane district of Canada.

Rod grew up in Ketchikan and graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1940. He attended Seattle University and Washington State University, graduating in business administration with an emphasis on finance and banking.

While attending college, Rod spent the summers as a ship purser with the Alaska Steamship Co. During World War II, Rod served in the U.S. Merchant Marine aboard a Liberty Ship and he drew on that experience to tell many exciting tales, including the time he helped navigate the ship through a minefield at sea.

Back home in Ketchikan in 1950, Rod met Sheila, an adventurous Irish nurse, on a blind date. They married in 1952 and had four children prior to moving to Anchorage in 1960.

Rod's banking career in Ketchikan and Anchorage spanned more than 30 years. Historical and familiar banks where Rod worked included First National Bank of Ketchikan, Miners and Merchants Bank of Ketchikan, National Bank of Alaska, Peoples Bank & Trust Co. and Alaska National Bank of the North. He also spent six years with the Alaska Industrial Development Authority prior to retiring in 1987.

In addition to being a member and past president of the Pioneers of Alaska, Anchorage Lions Club, Camp Fire Girls and Alaska Bankers Association, he participated in the Boy Scouts, Jaycees, March of Dimes, PTA and many other civic and nonprofit organizations. Rod and Sheila were King and Queen Regents for the Pioneers of Alaska and the 1989 Anchorage Fur Rendezvous.

Hobbies included stamp and coin collecting, watching birds at his backyard feeders and corresponding with friends. He loved music and was an accomplished pianist and violinist. He was proud that while in high school he could play every instrument in the band and served as occasional conductor. Throughout his later years, he always looked forward to watching "The Lawrence Welk Show" on TV, usually accompanied by ice cream in his special "Rod's Ice Cream" bowl.

After retirement, Rod enjoyed traveling and cruising around the world, including a trans-Atlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth II, cruises in the Amazon, Antarctica, Europe, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean. He especially enjoyed reunion cruises to the Caribbean and Panama Canal with his Ketchikan High "Kayhi" friends, his trips to Italy when his son lived there and his trips south to visit longtime friends and reminisce about their years together in Ketchikan and college. His favorite travels were to Idaho to visit his daughter Patti and her family, and to Oregon to visit his son Don and his family. He helped in their vineyard and tree nursery, operated farm equipment, shared life stories with grandsons and enjoyed picnics on the coast and boating on Idaho lakes.

The family wrote: "Above all, Dad deeply loved and valued his family and the times spent with them. He had great integrity and intelligence and guided us all through life with his special wit and wisdom. There was always something to learn from him, and his kindness and generosity to us will be missed."

Rod was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Sheila, in 2009.

He is survived by his four children and their spouses, Don Burgh and Deb Broocks of Yamhill, Ore., Patti and Steve Eachon of Rathdrum, Idaho, Colleen Burgh and Jim Stratton of Anchorage, and Bill Burgh of Anchorage; and grandsons, Andrew, Adam, Christopher, Eric, Ben, Brandan, Austen and Alex.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Catholic Social Services, the Archdiocese of Anchorage or the Anchorage Lions Club.

Published in Anchorage Daily News from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, 2010