Daniel Herbert Peger, 89, passed away May 6, 2013, because of natural causes at his home in Sequim, Wash., and his warm heart will always be missed.|
In 1951, Dan and Ruth Peger homesteaded 160 acres on the banks of the Tanana River one mile past the end of the road, which later became Peger Road. They commuted to Fairbanks in a World War II military "Weasel" tracked amphibious vehicle.
Dan worked as a carpenter on many buildings around Fairbanks. Dan's reputation as a hard worker caused plumber Dennis Wise to seek out and ask Dan if he would design and build Dennis' first apartment complexes. Dan brought them in under budget and ahead of schedule, some with his unique cantilever style, saving on expensive foundation while adding valuable space.
Dan also sold milk from the family cow for 10 years.
Dan was born Aug. 1, 1923, in Berea, Ohio, the second youngest of 12 children to Martha (Mahler) and Michael Peger.
Graduating eighth grade, while still working on the family farm he went to work as a golf caddy.
He served in combat in World War II on the Pacific islands of Tinian and Saipan in the U.S. Marine Corps and was awarded a Purple Heart. Other marines would come to him routinely for advice.
Traveling from Florida back to Cleveland, Dan worked as a farmer and ship builder. And later to Alaska for more opportunities, Dan went to flight school flying Aeronca Champions.
Dan came to Fairbanks in 1947, working at Ladd Field as a laborer, then as a railroad blacksmith at Eielson, then in the old federal building's post office on Cushman Street.
He found a pen pal in Detroit named Ruth E. Bauer. Ruth came to Fairbanks for a visit and became Mrs. Peger in 1951. They raised children on the homestead: sons Raymond and Robin, and daughter, Lisa.
Dan bought 10 more acres a mile north of his homestead and built his four-story log dream home, which they moved into shortly after Lisa was born. He was a groundbreaking gardener - a News-Miner photo and article recorded his 10-foot-high cornstalks, achieved with under-garden insulation and black visqueen.
Being a recycler before the word became popular, Dan utilized construction scraps to build two more houses, seven more rental units and a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in his spare time, on his property. Dan also enjoyed hunting moose and Dall sheep.
Dan was preceded in death by Ruth Peger and son, Robin Will Peger. He is survived by his daughter, Lisa Peger, and granddaughter, Angelica Peger; son, Raymond Peger, wife, Phyllis Peger, and granddaughters, Britanny Jackson and Danielle Peger; daughter-in-law, Sandra Peger, granddaughter, Nicole Peger and brother, Ray Peger.
For more information, call 452-8397.
Dan retired to Sequim, Wash., in 1974 and made his mark there too. Look for more to come on the News-Miner website guest book. Please post any memories you had of Dan. This sage truth seeker, creative thinker, nonconformist to the corruption of the world, and unforgettable generous man has a book of stories to tell.
We believe he's in the BOOK OF LIFE (the very words his autobiography ends with!)
Published in Daily News-Miner on Dec. 31, 2013