Longtime Alaska resident Daniel Coben, Sr. passed over to the Lord Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. He has resided in Alaska since the mid-1940s, and considered Alaska his forever home.
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He was born in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 5, 1919, to John and Maude Coben. He was to be one of four children.
Dan is survived by his wife of 42 years, Irene; and three children, one daughter and two sons, Roxie, and husband, Kevin Knight, Paul, and wife Debbie Coben. His grandchildren are Keri, Allen, Jennifer, Kristine, Andrew, Janet, Michelle, Donna, Brian and Ginger. His great-grandchildren are Jeriah, Jacob, Haley, Aspen, Brian, Nicholas, Kiely, Kamron, Emmy, Seth, Hannah, Alexander, Jazmine and Lindsey. Great-great grandchildren are Ashton and Dustian. Other survivors include many nieces and nephews throughout the states.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Maude Coben; his first wife, Emmy Lou; and his siblings, Eva, John and Gene.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in North Pole. A remembrance gathering will begin immediately after the service at the North Pole Grange Hall, 3.5 Mile Grange Road, until 6 p.m.
All friends and associates are invited to come and share stories of dad and his life adventures.
As a young man of 20, Dan enlisted in the Army and served from 1940 –1944. This was during WWII and he served in Europe for part of his tour. He was honorably discharged in 1944 with the rank of 2nd Lt.
In a conversation with a military friend, his interests turned to Alaska and the adventures the state had to offer. He came north and worked as a truck driver for the Alaska Road Commission, later to become the Department of Transportation.
He joined the Fairbanks Fire Department in approximately 1947, as a firefighter. After a short stay, he took a job as the assistant chief in Barrow and oversaw the Dew Line for a time. Deciding that he wanted family closer, he went back to the states and moved his wife and young son to the Fairbanks area.
In 1952, he was hired as the assistant fire chief at Eielson Air Force Base, moving to the rank of chief, which he held until his retirement in 1971. During his time at Eielson, he helped with the perfecting of the light water that would be used to coat the runways in an emergency landing for cold climate areas. After his retirement from Eielson, he became fire chief at the Fairbanks Fire Department from 1971 to 1974.
During his years as chief, he served as president of the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association as well as being instrumental in the organization of the Interior Firefighters Association and presiding over the meeting that created the Cook Inlet Chapter of the ASFA.
Also during this time, working with a local physician, he coordinated training for the first paramedics for the fire service in the Interior. He is a lifetime member of the Alaska State Fire Chiefs Association.
After his fire service years, he decided to go into farming. He and Irene purchased more than 300 acres in the Moose Creek Agriculture Project and resided there for the next 25 years. He grew various crops that many people said could not be grown in the state because of the short growing season. Just as in many aspects of his life, he proved them wrong.
During the years the fields were full of canola, sunflower, canary seeds, brome hay and much more. He served on the Fairbanks Farm Service Area Committee.
Throughout his life, he was struck by Alaska's endless frontier spirit and was always looking out for the minerals that were plentiful. Therefore, he owned many mines throughout the state of Alaska.
His philosophy was "to the end of the road and another 20 miles beyond was better." This gave him his reason to fulfill his passion for flying. He was a seasoned pilot from the early '60s and logged more than 20,000 hours in his 185 and 206.
Dan was a member of Polaris Court No. 2 Order of the Amaranth and of Tanana Lodge No. 3 of Fairbanks.
Flowers are appreciated, but in keeping with dad's dedication and love of the fire service, donations would be greatly appreciated, in his name, to the North Pole Fire Department trainee program. There is an account at Wells Fargo bank; acct. No. 5536022907, North Pole Volunteer Fire Department.
Arrangements were handled by Valley Funeral Home in Wasilla.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Jan. 8, 2013