ACADEMY GRADUATION – Governor Mike Dunleavy shakes hands with graduates at the Alaska Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement Training Session 1902 graduation ceremony this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. Twenty-six law enforcement officers from across the state received their badges in the ceremony and will be taking jobs as Alaska State Troopers, a Wildlife Trooper, and city and borough police department officers.  (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Fisherman, Longtime Alaskan Steven Garnick Dies at Age 69

Steven Garnick

Commercial fisherman, rock hound, husband and father Steven Garnick died Monday evening from complications of Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 69. He was at home in Sitka with his family around him.
Although born in Colorado in 1949, his family moved to Alaska in 1958 and he was Alaskan to his core.
Learning to trap, tan hides, track, garden, hunt and fish, Garnick eventually bought his first commercial fishing boat, finding his true passion.
Fresh out of Vietnam, and with a desire to live off the land, he fixed up and moved in to a historic cabin in Dyea Valley, where he delivered his first daughter. He then took his small family on a canoe trip down the Tanana River and later became the Echo Ranch caretaker in Berner’s Bay, where he delivered his son.
He moved to Port Alexander in 1976 where he eventually homesteaded and built a small cabin out of driftwood. There, he delivered his three younger children.
Friends call Garnick part of the soul of Port Alexander. His antidisestablishmentarianism fit right in with the community who was more like his family. One of his favorite pastimes was to sit on the dock getting the fishing report and talking with his friends.
Garnick was a quiet and gruff man, but a prankster and animated storyteller to those who knew him best.
Over the years, fishing the Huntress, Garnick became a highliner on many PA drags. Known as the hawg hunter, he was often found hugging the shoreline in his grey/blue boat, hoping people couldn’t see him.
“He just wanted to find a hole with some fish and work it however he wanted,” his wife, Robin, said. “When you are with the fleet, you have to share....He claimed he didn’t like to be around people, but for someone who was such a loner, he sure had a lot of friends.”
The Garnick family will be hosting an open house in Sitka on Christmas Eve; family members may be contacted for details. Public celebrations of life will follow this summer in Sitka and Port Alexander.
In addition to his wife Robin, Garnick is survived by his son, Whiterabbit “Josh”; daughters Ptarmica (Luke McConnel), Harmony, Sunnianne (Michael Dunn) and Coral; mother, Viona; brother Wayne (Shannon); grandchildren Gage, Breezy and Seidon; niece Heather (Tony Maggi) and nephews Jeremy (Hollin) and Justin (Tina).
He was preceded in death by his father, Lloyd; brother, Keith (Jackie); and nephew, Ryan.

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