(December 29, 2010) Longtime Alaska and Washington resident Richard Thomas “Dick” Wamser, 74, died Dec. 29, 2010, at the Alaska Native Medical Center.
Mr. Wamser wanted to be close to his mother and father, requesting that his ashes be laid to rest in the Kodiak Cemetery. Burial, a memorial service and gathering will be held in the spring, possibly on May 20, Dick’s birthday. Notice of the services will be published in the Anchorage Daily News and the Kodiak Daily Mirror.
Mr. Wamser was born May 20, 1936, in Afognak Village, to Charley and Elice (von Scheele) Wamser. He was baptized as a young child into the Russian Orthodox faith. After graduating high school, Dick received his master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. He proudly served 13 years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, receiving an honorable discharge.
Dick returned to Alaska to carry on the family tradition of commercial fishing in Bristol Bay from the mid-1960s to the mid 1980s. His various gillnetters included, most famously, The Phantom. During the 1980s and 1990s, Dick was the vessel owner and skipper of the salmon tenders: The Ben B and M/V Midas.
Dick resided in Anchorage his last four years, becoming a co-guardian of his grand-niece, Dorrie Wamser. He devoted time to ensuring Dorrie was secure and provided for. He was able to reconnect with family and friends, especially enjoying playful time with grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
His family said: “Dick was an independent, self-made man. Dick (“Uncle Dick”) believed first and foremost in education and college. He also loved flowering plants, and poinsettias, delivering them to family and friends at Christmastime, his favorite holiday. Dick’s greatest love was the ocean.”
Dick is survived by his brother, Bernard Wamser; nieces, Terrilyn Wamser, Marcia (Wamser) Anderson, and Susan Wamser, numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and many cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father, Charley Wamser, mother, Elice (von Scheele) Wamser; and nephews, James Wamser and Charley Wamser.
Dick will be dearly missed by all his family and friends!