Dean John Weeden, 82, passed away on July 17, 2013 at St. Mary's Assisted Living in Eureka, Mont.
He was born on November 7, 1930 in Lynn, Mass. to Dagny Thoresen and John Sven Weeden (Widen). Age five to seventeen he lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his mother and step-father Ole Olsen.
Dean hopped a train out west when he was seventeen years old launching his first job in the Forest Service doing seasonal work in Idaho. In 1951 he served in the Air Force as a Surgery Technician for the 452 Bomb Wing stationed at K-9 Korea (near Pusan). After the war he worked as a smoke jumper and earned a Bachelor of Forestry from the Montana State University in Missoula. When he finished school he went to Petersburg, Alaska where he moved from Junior Forester to District Ranger in less than four years.
His thirty-three year career with the Forest Service included his work as a Ranger in the North Tongass National Forest and the Kootenai National Forest and as Recreation and Lands Staff Officer to the Stikine Area in the Tongass National Forest.
Dean was active in the Petersburg community including serving on the harbor board and successfully lobbying for a new harbor. He was involved in the Rotary Club, Elks, and Moose organizations and could always be counted on to help with the salmon bake for the Little Norway Festival.
He loved building boats and he built over thirteen including a twenty-eight foot fishing boat, a sailboat and several sea kayaks.
After retirement he launched a second career as a shrimper and spent many hours setting and hauling shrimp pots on his boat the Seaweeden IV while listening to classical music. He often talked about how the sea lions, who popped their heads up near the boat, seemed to be listening to the music too.
One of his favorite places was Grief Island in Duncan Canal where he and his lifetime friends and companions Jeannie and Roland Norheim spent decades doing "improvement" projects on the cabin.
In 2008 Dean moved down to Canada near Eureka, Mont. and enjoyed living with his daughter Kristina and her family for a year. The last four years he lived at St. Mary's in Eureka. He kept his sense of humor throughout his life. When his caregiver recently introduced the lift they needed to use to transport him he said, "It's like I'm a big crab pot."
Dean was married to Lydia (Thompson) Weeden for fourteen years and they had four children. He is survived by daughter Youpa (Laurie) Stein, son-in-law Karl Stein, grandson Kai Stein; son Robert Weeden, daughter-in-law Melanie Millhorn, granddaughters Ashley Winton and her husband Evan Winton and Chelsea Weeden, daughter Kristina Proudfoot, son-in-law Phillip Proudfoot, granddaughter Ody Loomis and her husband Mark Loomis, grandsons Derek Larson, Kurtis and Dustin Proudfoot; and son Lance Weeden and his partner Dawn Merrit.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to either Sons of Norway Fedrelandet, #23, PO Box 629, Petersburg, Alaska 99833 or the Smokejumper Welfare Fund, Aerial Fire Depot, 5765 W. Broadway St., Missoula, Montana 59808.
A memorial service will be held in Petersburg at a later date.