Longtime Alaskan Freddy Huelle passed away at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital on June 19, 2013, because of complications from mesothelioma. Freddy was born Feb. 3, 1938, in Meadow Grove, Neb., to Otto and Edna (Snyder) Huelle. The family moved to Grants Pass, Ore., when Freddy was young.|
Freddy's father passed when Freddy was in his teens, so he quit school, got his G.E.D. and went to work to help support his mom. With a small lie about his age, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1955 and served his country for five years, proudly serving on the carrier USS Yorktown. During this time, Freddy married Linda Lee Hudson, in 1956, at El Centro, Calif. They had three daughters, Cynthia Lee, Deborah Lynn and Kimberly Diane. Following his naval service, Freddy moved his young family to Grants Pass, where he worked in the logging industry.
At the urging of his sister and brother-in-law, Marylou and Sonny Davis, Freddy moved his family north to Alaska in 1961. For Freddy, it was like coming home; he truly loved Alaska and it would be his home for the next 20 years.
Freddy and Linda divorced in 1963. The two older girls, ages 2 and 3, stayed with their dad, while Linda and the baby girl moved out of state. In 1968, Freddy married Louise Smith and they were together until her passing in 1995.
Freddy's first job in Fairbanks was for Gene Immel, followed by a two-year stint on the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line. In 1964, Freddy joined the Teamster's Union and went to work for Ted Willner, delivering fuel oil and gasoline. He stayed with Willner's through 1968. From 1969 through 1985, when Freddy retired from the teamsters, he had many jobs, including working for Fairbanks Fuel, Earth Movers, Paving Products, Northern Oil and Gas, hauling some of the first loads of pipe from Valdez, working on the haul road construction and trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
During this period, Freddy also hauled freight from the Lower 48 to Alaska for a short time. A friend asked him to bring a case of Coors beer up, as it was not available in Alaska at the time. Freddy, always willing to help a friend and somewhat fond of beer himself, agreed. Soon, one case led to a few cases on the next trip, and finally, a full pallet of Coors, that upon inspection was discovered at the border, entering Canada. This was the end of Freddy's bootlegging and Alaska Highway trucking careers. Back to the pipeline.
In 1972, Freddy and Louise staked out five acres on the Goodpaster River and built a cabin, eventually building a second cabin and a bath house. For the next 38 years, first with Louise and his daughters, and then with Bets, Freddy spent the happiest times of his life up the river.
In addition to the quiet, peaceful times alone, he also loved sharing his "Huelle Hilton," and spent many happy hours fishing, hunting and socializing with an amazing number of friends and neighbors over the years. This socializing was often around the fire, playing the ukulele and singing, telling jokes and stories, eating and having an occasional cocktail. Per his wishes, Freddy's ashes will be spread up the Goodpaster River.
Freddy was a good friend who had a great sense of humor, loved good company and a good time. He played, sang, wrote poetry, told jokes, stories, tall tales, and was generally a heck of a great guy to be with.
Freddy was preceded in death his wife, Louise; parents, and sisters, Ida Mae Lackey and Mary Lou Davis.
Freddy is survived by his sweetheart, loving companion, friend, and traveling partner of his last 15 years, Betty "Bets" Costello, of Fairbanks and Desert Hot Springs, Calif.; daughters, Cindy Matteson (Wayde), of Apopka, Fla.; Debbie Spencer, of Dallas; Kim Buie (John), of Alamagordo, N.M.; grandchildren, Mikeal Matteson, Nichole Herod, Joshua Hardy, Dustin Castro, Krystal Matteson, Morgan Buie and Blair Buie; and great-grandchildren, Peyton, Jocelyn, Mariela and Samantha Sue.
There will be a potluck party celebrating Freddy's life, at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 28, 2013, at The Boatel.
Published in Daily News-Miner on July 19, 2013