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Richard Sterne Best

1927 - 2010 Obituary Condolences
Richard Sterne Best Obituary
Richard Sterne Best passed away at his home surrounded by family after a hard-fought battle with cancer on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010.
Richard (Dick) was born to Mr. and Mrs. Agnew Best on May 3, 1927, in Troy, N.Y. Richard joined the Marine Corps at age 18 to support his country during World War II. In 1945, he was stationed in Japan.
As a kid growing up in New York, it was his lifelong dream to come to Alaska to hunt, fish and dog mush. In 1949, he began to fulfill that dream when he flew to Alaska, where he planned to spend one year. He worked at the University of Alaska Experiment Farm and Creamer's Dairy while attending what is now known as the University of Alaska Fairbanks and studying agriculture.
He was reactivated in the Marines in 1950 during the Korean War. Richard was very proud of his service to his country and had fond memories of his time of active duty. After returning to New York, Richard graduated from Morrisville College with a degree in agriculture.
In 1952, at the age of 25, Richard drove to Fairbanks, where he spent the rest of his 83 years. As a young man, Richard took up dog mushing, racing in many events including the North American Sled Dog Championship. He loved working with dogs and often would say he'd rather shovel dog poop than get oil on his hands. Richard kept sled dogs until the 1970s, and after a long hiatus, at age 66, he began running and training dogs for a friend for another eight years.
Richard worked for Fairbanks Lumber Supply for 31 years, where he met his future wife, Geraldine. He worked six days per week, always on time, and took a two-week vacation every year to see his mother in Troy. From his years working in a lumberyard, Richard acquired a great knowledge of woodwork and was always building dog houses, furniture or adding rooms to the house on Davis Road. His woodworking skills stayed current for all his days.
In 1955, Richard married Geraldine Pearson. Their marriage of 51 years was spent dog sledding, fishing, gardening and raising their family. They hiked the Chilkoot Trail at ages 73 and 63, amazing those on the trail who were much younger but could not keep up. Throughout their years together, Richard took care of his gardens and many flowers. His knowledge of plants was impressive and showed in his abundant produce every year.
Richard had a great love for the outdoors; he enjoyed hunting moose, teaching his sons how to trap, fishing and bird hunting. He imparted a love of the outdoors to his children, who always will appreciate the time he and their mom spent making sure they got those experiences. Richard was a man of great honor and principle; he knew what was right and always did exactly that. He did his best to provide not only a living, but a sense of rightness and strong principles to his children.
At age 82, Richard was still fixing doors on his daughter's house. Richard retired from the Lumber Supply in 1983, leaving a legacy of a man with an impeccable work ethic and sense of justice as is shown by the Retirement Book his employees, employers and customers made for him.
After retiring, Richard and Jerry opened Best Shoes, a shoe store that his daughters and wife greatly enjoyed the benefits of. After four years, he retired for good other than working on asbestos removal for a short time.
Richard was well known during the last 30 years for how well he took care of himself and for the great shape his body was in. He worked out faithfully three to five days per week at what is now The Alaska Club, always making sure his biceps never shrank. As much as he enjoyed his physical workouts at the club, he also had a great time socializing with other folks working out there and with those who worked there. Up until eight weeks ago, he got his workout bag and headed for the club a couple of days per week to do his workout.
Richard is survived by his wife of 51 years, Geraldine Best; son, Richard Best; son and daughter-in-law, Alan and Katie Best, granddaughter Paige Warnke; son, Steven Best; daughter and son-in-law, Amber and Josh Hendrickson, granddaughters Delaney and Jaime Hendrickson; daughter, Melanie Best; sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Edwards; and many nieces and nephews and friends.
A celebration of life will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24, at the Dog Mushers Hall. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Hospice of the Tanana Valley, 2001 Gillam Way, Fairbanks, AK 99701 and/or the Interior Alaska Cancer Association, P.O. Box 80063, Fairbanks, AK 99708.
Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Please visit http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsminer/ to sign the online guest book.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Aug. 22, 2010
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