Blanchard Family Funeral Home
611 Noble Street
Fairbanks, AK 99701
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Cecil Fran Gates

1935 - 2019
Cecil Fran Gates Obituary
Cecil Fran Gates was born May 3, 1935, to Cecil V. and Lucille (Cousins) Gates in Vancouver, Washington. He passed peacefully Sept. 6, 2019, at Fairbanks Memorial with his wife, Dixie, and sons at his side.
Cecil was avidly interested in electronics, building radios with his father and, at 13, one of the youngest licensed ham radio operators on the West Coast. He joined the Navy in 1954 and served until 1958 in Japan as a radio mechanic II.
In 1961, Cecil satisfied his dream to move to Alaska, working as an electronics technician at Bethel Air Force Station. There he met and married nurse Joanne Schoen and started a family. After the station closed, they moved to Astoria, Oregon, where he worked repairing radar and radios on ocean-going ships. The family desired to return to Alaska and, in 1964, Cecil was hired at Clear Air Force Base working on the BMEWS site. They settled near Nenana, homesteading south of town where they had four children together. They divorced in 1992.
Cecil had caught the gold mining bug early and had gold mining claims around the Interior and, for a time, sold gold dredges. His interests over the years included trapping, hunting and farming - raising goats and sheep and growing hay on a farm in north Nenana. An avid storyteller, Cecil would often share tales of his adventures. Always a crack shot, he took every opportunity to reduce the squirrel population, accompanied by his beloved dog, Brandy. Cecil found love again and in 2003 married Dixie Davenport, who joined him at the Nenana homestead, where they lived until he passed.
Cecil is survived by his wife, Dixie: children, Donald Gates, Timothy (Maria) Gates, Debra Watkins and Patricia Gates (Ray Lobbes), Barbara (Cliff ) Gilliland, Lisa Morrison and Sara (Aaron) Majors; grandchildren, Alyssa and Kyle Gates, Sabrina and Athina Watkins, Addison and Alexander Gates, Tessa and Lorien Lobbes, Nina (Connor) Neuhoff, Brianna Majors, Alicia (Seth) Shultz, Ben (Desiree), Alan, Trisha, Kevin and Emma Gilliland, Ryne (Hannah) Asher and Linsdey Asher; and great-granddaughter, Paisley Neuhoff.
Memorial to be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Nenana Civic Center in Nenana. Potluck immediately afterward.
Online condolences may be made to the family at Blanchardfamilyfuneralhome.com
Published in Daily News-Miner on Oct. 3, 2019
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