Jack Chalmers Culbreath

6 entries
  • "Jack was a great, kind and caring man. One of the best."
    - Eric
  • "Jack was a unique, talented and soft spoken individual who..."
    - Warren Wiley
  • "Allen ,Nadine and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Even..."
    - LuAnn Walker
  • "Allan, Nadine and family, Heaven surely has gained another..."
    - Marthe Shallies
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Jack Chalmers Culbreath died peacefully at home with his family by his side on June 27. Born in Kinsley, Kansas to Chal and Irmah Culbreath. His family in 1920 made their way to Southern California in an open vehicle. In route along the new Highway 66 they traveled on corrugated roads that crossed the painted desert sands and encountered a three-day blizzard that stopped them in Flagstaff, Arizona, where they took refuge in the Harvey House established by the Santa Fe Railroad.

After High School in 1935 Jack met Jean K. Porter at city college in Los Angeles, California where they became close friends and the love of his life. He then went on to earn a degree in forestry and wildlife management from the University of California. Working the summers as a fire look out in Yosemite National Park and as a naturalist after attaining his degree.

In September of 1942 an Army Recruiter was looking for skiers and rock climbers for a new mountain division. Jack and five of his buds were sent to Camp Hail Colorado, as part of the 87th Mountain Division. In the spring of 1943 he received orders to join the 9th Amphibian Task Force which was sent to the Aleutian Chain in Alaska to fight the Japanese invasion.

Before leaving he was redirected to officer training in Fort Benning, Georgia until Christmas. With that news he called Jean to report the change and she came to Monterey, California where they were married in June, 1943. After completing officers training it was back to Camp Hail until the spring of 1944 where the 10th Mountain Division was organized and sent to the European theater. His dIvision entered near Florence, Italy and fought through the Apennine Poe Valley and Italian Alps. Ending their deployment in Brenner's Pass, the entrance to Austria. He was then ordered back to the states to reassemble in San Francisco and head to the South Pacific conflict. En-route the Japanese had surrendered. It was the end of World War II.

After discharge in December of 1945 Jack went to work for Fish & Wildlife in Denver Colorado and was then transferred in 1950 to an information officer position in Washington, DC. Jack got his big break after 8 years in Washington when Alaska Became the 49th State. The Forest Service offered him a new position as an Officer Of Information for the Alaska Region of the Forest Service in Juneau.

The 1957 Chevy station wagon was packed and the move was made, traveling across the lower 48 from Silver Springs Maryland to Juneau via the dirt roads of the Alaska Highway. Arriving in Haines, where we caught the final sailing of the year on the Chilkat ferry to the Tee Harbor terminus in Juneau.

Jack initiated the information services for the Mendenhall and Portage Glacier Visitor centers. During the inaugural cruise of the Alaska Ferry System Jack's decisions with then Governor Bill Egan led to the programs and information presented by the Forest Service Interpreters on todays ferry system. Note: Bob Hakala was recruited to develop the above mentioned programs. Jack's position also allowed him to host and accommodate many visitors into Alaska Forests such as the National Geographic, Sir Edmund Hillary Forest Studies and motion picture productions for the Lassie TV show.

In 1960 the Culbreath family started our participation with the Chapel by the Lake and Jack helped finish the original log chapel. He served many years as a deacon and was on the Sitka Sheldon Jackson board of directors for a three year term. His chapel activities included leadership of a Boy Scout Troop and In 1971 he lead a contingent of 40 Eagle Scouts that accompanied scouts from Ketchikan to Barrow to the 13 world Jamboree held on Mt. Fuji in Japan. While there a typhoon hit the Boy scout Encampment on Mt. Fuji which scattered the troops throughout the nearby community schools. The camp suffered a-lot of wind, water and mud damage but was able to reopen after a 3 day cleanup.

Jack continued his support for Scouting as a member of the southeast Council and was active in the community as a founding member of the Glacier Valley Lions Club. He was an avid photographer and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association.

Jack retired from the Forest Service in July of 1977 and due to Jeans health concerns they moved to Camas and then settled in Washougal, Washington. There they built a new home where he pursued his love for gardening and golf. He called this "The Land of Easy Living". During a visit in 1994 after an amazing day on the Taku River, Jean suffered a stoke and passed away at Bartlett Regional Hospital. In May of 2005 due to failing eyesight and the loss of the ability to drive Jack returned to Juneau and moved into an apartment attached to our house to be close to family. Jack and Nadine attended Chapel By the Lake and started a community garden plot with long time family friend Kathy Thatcher. Jack loved his time spent out-doors with friends and family and did whatever he could do to help! A good conversation or capturing that next photo, and Oh yes just one more cup of tea please. Some of Jacks greatest moments in life was when his son Allan Joseph, grandchildren Chad Allan and Tiffany Jean, and then his Great Granddaughter Kylie Nadine Listberger were born. Heaven has graciously taken on one of the kindest, one in a million type person.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, aunts, uncles and his wife and best friend for more then fifty years Jean. He is survived by his son Allan and daughter in law Nadine, grandchildren Chad, and Tiffany and husband Derek Lisberger and great granddaughter Kylie Listberger, and his pug companion Jasmine. Due to the family wishes there will be no service, and the family will spread his ashes in a special place. Contributions in Jack's name may be made to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau and SAIL of Juneau. Family can be contacted at Po Box 210951 Auke Bay, Ak 99821
Published in The Juneau Empire from Aug. 7 to Sept. 6, 2015
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