Longtime Alaska miner Richard "Dick" Leslie Loud passed away peacefully on Jan. 28, 2021, at his winter home in Lake Havasu, Arizona. Dick was born in Covington, Kentucky, on Aug. 7, 1935, the first born to Leslie and Carmel Yelton Loud. His early years were spent growing up in Kentucky and Minnesota.
In the spring of 1950, Dick and his father set out on a summers-long Alaska adventure with the intent of returning in the fall to his mother and sister in Kentucky. They did not return until Christmas and stayed only long enough to gather up mom, sister and belongings, say their goodbyes to extended family and make another trek up the Alaska Highway. They arrived in Fairbanks in January 1951 to their newly homesteaded land accessed by hiking from the north end of Bennett Road, and later by a new two-lane gravel Chena Hot Springs Road.
The homestead became known as Birch Knoll Farm and was one of the first potato farms in the Fairbanks area providing potatoes to the military at Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. In 1954, the Loud family added a daughter, Laura, and in 1958 a son, Tim. The original family of four was now six. During these years, Dick and his father were partners working on the homestead, building the family home, and farming while both held other jobs to support the family and farm.
It was during the farming years that Dick met the love of his life, Nancy Fearrien, a young California girl who came to Fairbanks with a friend in the summer of 1959 for their own Alaska adventure. Dick and Nancy were married at the First Methodist Church in Fairbanks on June 8, 1962, and have truly lived an Alaska adventurous life together with their two children, Lori and Richard.
In 1967, Dick, Nancy and his mother, Carmel, purchased the Tik Tok Drive In, a very popular Fairbanks drive-in restaurant on the Old Steese Highway. They operated the drive-in for 10 years in the location of what is now the Northgate Square Mall.
In 1973, they expanded, building a second restaurant, Car Mel's, across the street in the Gavora Mall. The two restaurants provided opportunities for the young people in the family to have great summer jobs gaining experience while working for "Uncle Dick."
In the early '70s Dick and Nancy ventured into gold mining, and they have been on the creeks ever since. Life on Harrison Creek in the Circle Mining District was where Dick was happiest and has been their summer home for many years.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughter Lori Clowers (Dean) and grandchildren, Lynsey and Dylan; and his son Richard (Marcy) and grandson Ryan Loud (Jonnie). He is also survived by his brother, Tim Loud, and sisters, Shirley Patton and Laura Haskamp, plus numerous nieces and nephews.
Dick was a true Alaskan in his love for the state and the adventures that came with that.
He was so proud of his family and loved them dearly. He will be greatly missed. A celebration will be held this summer and his ashes spread at his mine. Condolences may be sent to 607 Old Steese Hwy., Box 158, 99701.
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