Neland Jerome Haavig (1923 - 2018)

  • "to paul and family. my condolences..r.i.p. mr havavig"
    - mie bagron
  • "My deepest condolences! May God comfort and be with the..."
  • "Sorry for your loss Haavig Family"
    - Kerry Lindley
  • " Our condolences to the family. May God fulfill his promise..."

Neland Jerome Haavig, a long time Sitka, Alaska; Walhalla, North Dakota; and Mesa, Arizona resident, passed away on March 15, 2018 at Narrows Glen Senior Facility in Tacoma, Washington.

Neland was born on May 18, 1923 in New Rockford, North Dakota to Sylvester and Helen (Hanson) Haavig. He graduated from Noonan North Dakota High School in 1941 where he excelled in athletics and received a football scholarship to Minot State College. World War II interrupted his studies and Neland went to Seattle to join the Navy, entering into active service in 1943. Neland served in the Pacific theater on the cruiser U.S.S. Chicago, and in the Atlantic on the aircraft carrier U.S.S Guadalcanal.

After Neland's honorable discharge, he returned to North Dakota to begin his life with his high school sweetheart and wartime bride Joyce L. Helgeson from Columbus ND. In the fall of 1945, Neland enrolled at North Dakota State University in Fargo and graduated in 1950. His first teaching job was in McHenry, N.D. During his tenure there, he attended summer school at the University of North Dakota where he earned a Master's Degree. Neland was promoted to Superintendent of Schools in McHenry and went on to be the Superintendent in Noonan, Drake, and Walhalla, North Dakota.

In March 1964, on the day of the Alaska Good Friday earthquake, Neland accepted the Superintendent of Schools position at the island community of Sitka, Alaska. This wonderful opportunity took him, his pregnant wife, and seven children, and two vehicles on an exciting camping trip through Canada to the Alaska State Ferry Terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. They boarded the MV Matanuska and docked in Sitka on July 10, 1964.

For the next fifteen years Neland was busy as the year round superintendent and as a commercial salmon troller during the summer fishing seasons. (This was true to his Norwegian heritage. His great-great grandfather was a fisherman on Bomlo Island, Norway.) His superintendent retirement began in 1979 and he continued to fish commercially until 1987 when he fully retired.

Neland and Joyce then began the snowbird phase of their life. They summered in Walhalla most of the time and wintered in Venture Out Park and Sunland Village in Mesa. Neland enjoyed entertaining and he was known for his halibut fish and chips. After no longer summering in Walhalla, they spent a few summers in Medford, Oregon before moving full time to Narrows Glen in Tacoma in January 2017.

Neland is survived by his wife, Joyce; daughters Carole Andrews, Pasco, WA; Cynthia Haavig, Portland, N.D. ; Leslie Hansen (Richard) University Place, WA. Kristi Haavig (Jake Allmaras) Medford OR; Maren Haavig (Mark Neidhold) Juneau AK; and sons Steven Haavig (Paula Scavera) Juneau, AK, and Paul Haavig, Sitka, AK.; grandchildren Stephany Andrews, Tate Andrews, Brett Haavig, Erika Haavig, Adam Hansen, and Kristofer Hansen; and great-grandchildren, Ander Call; Averie and Bryce Haavig; and Beckett, Maddox, and Paxton Hansen. Neland was preceded in death by his parents, his son Neland J. Haavig Jr.; son-in-law Thomas Andrews, and two sisters Arlene Stevenson and Sallymae Hunter.

A service for Neland has been set for May 11, 2018 at Sitka Lutheran Church at 1pm, followed by the interment at the Sitka National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m., and reception at the Sea Mountain Golf course starting at 4:30 p.m.

Neland was dearly loved by his family and friends. The family is grateful to all the professionals at Narrows Glen and Franciscan Hospice Tacoma who provided care, guidance, and support during Neland's last days. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to in Neland's name.
Religious Service Information
Sitka Lutheran Church-elca
224 Lincoln St
Sitka, AK 99835
(907) 747-3338
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Published in The Juneau Empire from Apr. 8 to May 7, 2018
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