William "Bill" Hoskins
Memorial services for William
"Bill" Hoskins, an Alaska pioneer and farmer, will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the
Palmer Elks Lodge No. 1842. The Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 31 and the
Northland Pioneer Grange No. 1 will officiate. Mr. Hoskins, 78, died Wednesday,
March 23, at Providence Hospital following a long bout with cancer.
He was born Nov. 20, 1909, on a farm in Brady, Wash. He moved to Alaska in 1931
and purchased 150 acres from a homesteader near the current Alaska State
Fairgrounds in Palmer. While clearing the land for his farm, he also worked for
a variety of employers including the Alaska Railroad, the Premier Coal Mine, a
Hatcher Pass gold mine, the Territorial Road Commission and the University of
Alaska experimental station at Palmer. He also hand-dug water wells for the
Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corporation for the Colonists in 1935. He retired
from the experimental farm in 1975. His love was farming and he always had a
beautiful garden with huge vegetables that until recently was a stop for the
tourist buses in the Valley.
He was instrumental in establishing many organizations and held charter
memberships in Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 31, Palmer Moose Lodge No. 793 and
Northland Pioneer Grange No. 1. He was one of the original organizers of the
Snider Park Commission and the Alaska State Fair, of which he was a board
member. When the fairground was moved to its present location adjacent to the
Hoskins homestead, a building which houses the arts and crafts and baked and
canned goods displays, was named in his honor. Hoskins was the first checkpoint
person at the top of Lazy Mountain for the Alaska State Fair Lazy Mountain
Marathon. In addition to his own farm, Hoskins helped build the Valley Hospital,
the high school (which is now Palmer Junior High) and the Eklutna Power Plant.
In his leisure time, he enjoyed making canes and walking sticks out of diamond
willow, and helping the historical society establish a museum in the basement of
the Log Cabin Visitors Center in Palmer.
He leaves his wife of 50 years, Marjorie, and his son, Jerry, both of the
original homestead in Palmer; his son, Roy, of Palmer; his daughters, Ida
Wooten, of Blountville, Tenn., and Lila Gilmer, of Pelzer, S.C.; six
grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
In accordance with his wishes, his ashes will be scattered over the land that he
loved, his farm. Memorials may be sent to Northland Pioneer Grange No. 1, P.O.
Box 2304, Palmer 99645. The fund will be used for scholarships for agricultural
students. Service arrangements were by Kehl's Palmer Mortuary.
Source: Anchorage Daily News, 5 April