Life, love & loss on Raspberry Island Elysian resident shares memories of Alaska’s remote island

Joan Markytan (left) shared her story of living and working on Alaska’s remote Raspberry Island in the mid-1960s following a Lake Area Historians’ meeting, Jan 20. Markytan’s husband, Ken, disappeared while fishing. His capsized boat was later located, but his body was never found. (Submitted photo)

Joan Markytan of Elysian was the guest speaker at the Lake Area Historians meeting, Monday night, January 20. Markytan shared her experience of living with her husband, Ken, at Raspberry Island (near Kodiak) in Alaska in the mid-1960s.

Markytan’s husband was a pilot and always wanted to be a bush pilot. So, in 1965, he answered an employment ad for Wakefield Fisheries, a crabbing company on Raspberry Island. Within a month’s time, Markytan, her husband, and their five-year-old daughter, Tammy, headed to Alaska. They took the train to Seattle and were met by representatives from Wakefield.

When the family finally landed at Kodiak in October, Markytan’s first impression was “blah.”

“Everything was very blah,” she stated of the not-so-impressive island. “And, coffee was $1 already in those days—expensive living, but there was huge king crab.”

While undergoing a physical for her new job, Markytan learned she was expecting again. She worked for the...

To see more on this story pick up the January 23,, 2020 print edition of the Life/Enterprise.

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