Longtime Alaska resident Warren "Jack" Cheney died peacefully Wedensday, Dec. 4, 2013 at his retirement home in Payson, Ariz. He was 92.
His remains were cremated and the ashes shared with family and friends in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington States and the Bahamas.
Born in Golden, Colo., Nov. 16, 1921, Mr. Cheney first came to Alaska in 1943 as an enlisted member of the U.S. Coast Guard to assist in the cleaning up of damage caused by the WWII Japanese air attack on Dutch Harbor. He returned to Alaska in 1946 to work with the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Fairbanks. In 1960 his family followed Mr. Cheney from Washington State. The Cheneys started to commercially fish in Clam Gulch and later at Kalifonsky Beach on the Kenai Peninsula.
In 1967 the family liquidated its fishing sites and moved to Kenai where Mr. Cheney became the first civilian hired at the Wildwood Air Force Base. He served as supervisor and inspector of military billeting and housing. Following the base closure, the Cheney family moved to Anchorage where Mr. Cheney worked as a Supervisor of Billeting on Elmendorf Air Force Base. He retired in 1988.
Mr. Cheney was a past member of Grange 985 in Oroville, Wash., a member of the Masonic Lodge 201 and a charter member of Kenai Lodge 11. He was also a lifetime member of Glacier Lodge 10 in Anchorage. His credentials also extend to being a member of Pioneer Igloo 15 in Anchorage. Mr. Cheney was a charter member of Kenai Lions Club. In addition, he was a member of Theta Chi Greek fraternity San Diego Chapter.
Jack will be remembered by family and friends as a sincere, hard headed, most intelligent, happy individual also know as "Smiling Jack." In the many tributes that have poured in to the family following his passing, there is a single recurring sentiment that continues to surface: "Jack made a difference."
Mr. Cheney was devoted to his family and his many friends world-wide. He enjoyed the out-of-doors and the lifestyle of being a pioneer Alaskan. He never got enough of fishing and hunting.
Mr. Cheney was preceded in death by his wife Loretta Cheney, the mother of their two children; and his wife from a later marriage, June Cheney. Both women died of cancer. Preceding him in death was also his brother William.
Mr. Cheney is survived by his daughters Cindy Smirnoff and Laura Lee Slaymaker, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and several nephews and nieces.
Donations may be made to the
or the Masonic Burn Center.
Published in The Peninsula Clarion on Jan. 6, 2014