Clarence Willoya

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Clarence "Chug" Willoya, 84, passed away peacefully at home on Feb. 18, 2017, in Anchorage, Alaska. He was born in 1932 at Nome, Alaska, to Emma and Mike Willoya. Clarence spoke fondly of growing up in Nome. He enjoyed all the fishing, hunting and gathering his large family required, especially summers at fish camp on the Cripple River. He always spoke highly of his mother for instilling in him pride in their Inupiat heritage and confidence in his abilities to provide for himself and others in their subsistence lifestyle and his later careers supporting himself and family. Clarence worked numerous jobs in Nome, including hauling gold for shipment and crew on a barge tug, where he acquired his nickname, "Chug." He joined the Eskimo Scouts with his father at 17, and after graduating high school was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving at Fort Richardson. He married Lolita Havercamp in Nome and they moved to Anchorage, in 1953, for employment to support their family as it grew to five children. After his discharge, Clarence worked on base before joining the Alaska Army National Guard, where he served full time for 19 years, retiring in 1979. He then worked on the North Slope for ARCO for 10 years. Clarence and Lolita enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting and gathering. They both loved their summers in Seward, Alaska, and on the Denali Highway with their boats, RVs and ATVs. They shared this with children, grandchildren and numerous friends. After Lolita passed away, he continued these activities and was always out and around town and the state. Even in his 80s, he loved his long drives to the Mat-Su, Seward or even Homer, Alaska, and back in a day. Clarence was a kind and generous man always willing to help in anyway he could. Clarence was preceded in death by his wife, Lolita Willoya in 2000. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Levine; his children, Roberta Willoya, Burnice Willoya, Deborah Willoya, Donna Willoya and Mark Willoya; and granddaughter, Robin Willoya, who he raised; as well as three generations of grandchildren. In memory of Chug, enjoy life as he did especially where he asked his ashes be spread, as Lolita's were, in Nome, Seward, Homer, and off the Maclaren Summit on the Denali Highway.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Mar. 19, 2017