Professor Emeritus Claus-Michael Naske, 78, departed on a new journey March 5, 2014, in his Fairbanks home after a long and valiant battle against bile-duct cancer. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Dinah Ariss Naske; his daughter and son-in-law Natalia and Steve Carboy; his son Nathaniel-Michael Naske, and his cherished granddaughters Jourdan and Jade Carboy. " I may not have many grandchildren, but the two I have are perfect," he was known to boast.
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He instilled a love of reading, writing and travel in his children and grandchildren - a sense of intellectual adventurousness and critical curiousity that continues to reap creative dividends. He is also survived by his four beloved sisters in Europe and their families.
Claus was indeed the living embodiment of a dozen different success stories - swept up as a child into one of the greatest mass movement of peoples in the 20th century, he fled west from the advance of the Russian Red Army, avoiding the Nazis as well. This all before he was 10. At 16, he applied for, and got, immigrant status to the Alaska Territories, where he was shortly adopted by the Barry clan of Palmer. After that, he was drawn to the University of Alaska Fairbanks by the siren song of steam heat and a meal ticket. It was at UAF he met the love of his life, Dinah Ariss. Claus and Dinah married in spring 1960 at the Malemute Saloon in Ester. Their children Natalia and Nathaniel, followed in 1964 and 1967. An alumni and professor emeritus of UAF, Claus became a chronicler-without-peer and lifelong booster of "The Land Of The Midnight Sun." He wrote, taught, lived and made Alaska history, always having his finger on the pulse of the state. He was never shy about expressing his opinions and taking a stand, and often chastised those in public office - enlightening them on the historical record and the grievous error of their ways. He was as swift to support and encourage those on the "right side" of any given issue.
Claus and Dinah became accomplished world travelers; locating long lost relatives in Australia; visiting the pristine ecosystem of the Galapagos; cruising Antarctica, twice! They managed to establish a beachhead on all seven continents, and were working their way around again. Claus was lucky to have cultivated a dedicated cadre of true and loyal friends who stood with him throughout his long and fascinating Alaska adventure. His enthusiasm, exuberance and zest for life is already sorely missed. He was truly blessed, as are we all who have had the good fortune to share this voyage with him. May we all meet again in some distant, friendly port.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Claus-M. Naske History Scholarship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Please join family, friends and community for a celebration of life potluck from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at the Elks Lodge, 1003 Pioneer Road, Fairbanks. Bring a dish and a story to share.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the places and moments that take our breath away." - Anonymous
Published in Daily News-Miner on Mar. 31, 2014