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Gilbert Jean Andrews

1922 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Gilbert Jean Andrews Obituary
Gilbert Jean Andrews passed away peacefully Nov. 25, 2013, at Agewise assisted living home in Fairbanks. He was 91. He was born July 20, 1922, in Koyukuk, to Mary (Cherosky) Andrews. He was the sixth of seven boys.
He was orphaned at age 7 and at age 9 was sent to live at the Eklutna Industrial School near Anchorage. He traveled alone on the steamer "General Jacobs" from Koyukuk to Nenana and then by train to Eklutna.
Gil lived at the school for nine years. It was a hard life because the students were responsible for many of the chores that were necessary in the operation of the school. He enjoyed reading to the blind students and helping the new children adjust to life at the school.
Gil began work for the Alaska Railroad after graduation. He helped construct the Portage Tunnel and eventually worked the complete railroad line from Seward to Fairbanks. He also prospected in the Mount Hayes area.
During World War II, he worked for the military at Ladd Field (Fort Wainwright) and with the Army Transport Service in Seward. He delivered by boat the munitions, oil, gas and supplies to the gun emplacements in Resurrection Bay. After completing his work with the Army, he and a friend, Frank Mercer, found themselves in Seward with little money and no job prospects. They decided to walk the 115 miles along the railroad tracks to Anchorage to look for work. The walk took five days.
He returned to Fairbanks and began work hauling freight from Valdez to Fairbanks. Then he was hired by the Alaska Road Commission, later the Department of Highways. Though his job had him working in McKinley Park, Cantwell, Tok, Glennallen and the Fortymile Country, he made Fairbanks his home. He retired in 1977 after 33 ½ years, the last 10 as foreman of all roads north of Fairbanks. He had 2 million accident-free miles to his credit.
On April 27, 1968, Gil married Meredith Ostnes at Paxson. It was the first recorded marriage in Paxson. They were married for 36 years until Meredith's death in 2004.
Gil was a kind and generous man with a wonderful sense of humor. He was an avid outdoorsman who eagerly shared his vast knowledge of Alaska history and geography. He had many unique experiences and every one loved his stories. He was loved and will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
He is survived by five step-children, Dianne (Robert) Ramsey, of Missouri, Carol (Ted) Murphy, of California, Larry (Janice) Ostnes, of Fairbanks, Jeanne Ostnes, (Tim Benintendi), of Anchorage, and Leif Ostnes, of Fairbanks; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
There will be no funeral, per Gil's wishes. Contributions in his memory may be sent to the Harry and Sally Porter Heart Center at 1650 Cowles St., Fairbanks, AK 99701.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Dec. 4, 2013
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