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Robert "'Yukon Bob'" Shirey

1949 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Robert "'Yukon Bob'" Shirey Obituary
Robert "Yukon Bob" Shirey, died July 9, 2013, in Bullhead City, Ariz., after a long illness. Bob was born in Santa Monica, Calif., on Aug. 18, 1949, to Bill and Joy Shirey. Bob was the firstborn of three children.
After high-school graduation, Bob left home, hopping trains to Seattle. There he got a dream job working with the dolphins and whales at the Seattle Sea Aquarium. When he was replaced by someone with a degree in the field, he moved north to Alaska, arriving in Fairbanks in 1970, just in time for the Tanana Raft Classic. Bob was an accomplished bar keep, as well, working in Juneau and Fairbanks. He could make your favorite beverage with skill and, all the while, quote Robert Service to keep you entertained.
A hard-working truck driver, Bob worked out of the Teamster's Local 959 during construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and for many years after.
Between 1990 and 2005, Bob owned and operated DARE, Down Alaskan Rivers Expeditions, a guided river rafting business with his partner and best friend, Dave Mauget. They took clients and friends on river trips taking several days, down the Copper and Chulitna rivers and Birch Creek. Bob loved to cook, and he prepared gourmet meals, to the delight of those lucky enough to be on the river with him and Dave.
Bob admired and loved strong, independent women. He always was the consummate gentleman, good mannered, gentle and protective. It didn't hurt that he was devilishly handsome. He was pretty handy with firearms and fishing tackle, as well.
It would be hard to mistake Bob for someone else. When you walked into a joint after work, he'd be the one with the big, good-looking handlebar mustache and twinkling eyes, visiting with the friend or stranger sitting next to him. Bob was a wonderful storyteller, and he had a lot of good stories to tell. If you cared to listen and took the time, you'd not be disappointed.
After 35 years, Bob left Alaska and moved back to the Lower 48. He spent time in Oregon, Arizona and Idaho, working for a few years in Arizona and retiring from the Teamsters in 2009. When he finally stopped moving around, he settled on the Colorado River in Bullhead City, Ariz.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and his best friend, Dave Mauget. He is survived by his sister, Brooke Herzberg, of Mt. Vernon, Wash.; his brother, Craig Shirey, of Marysville, Wash.; and numerous friends, most of whom live in Alaska and especially the Fairbanks area.
Bob loved life, cooking for friends, football, games of chance, good coffee in the morning, country fried steak for breakfast, a snifter of Grand Marnier in the evening and slow dancing to Patsy Cline.
But most of all, he loved Alaska and being out in the beautiful Alaskan wilderness on one of its rivers. So that is where he will be, now that his story is at an end.
A celebration of the life and times of Sir Bob of Shirey, and Dave Mauget, as well, will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, at 360 Terrace Drive in Fairbanks. For information, call Hovercraft at 378-0694.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Aug. 19, 2013
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