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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 1988

 



 


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