Walter R. Pudwill
May 25, 1955-Sept. 10, 2016
Walter Raymond Pudwill, 61, carpenter, gardener, prospector and fix-it-man extraordinaire, died Sept. 10, 2016, at home in Homer, Alaska, after living with cancer for nearly four years.
Walter was born May 25, 1955, in Eugene, Ore., to Raymond and Mary Ellen Pudwill. He grew up in nearby Springfield, often traveling to job sites around Oregon with his father, who owned a road construction business. He worked from a young age, picking strawberries and beans in the Willamette Valley, trapping on the outskirts of Springfield and helping his father. He spent much of his time outdoors. In 1973 he graduated from Springfield High School and began working as a tree planter with Hoedads, Inc., a reforestation cooperative. While working with the Hoedads he met his future wife, Ann Dixon, and purchased with partners a block of patented claims in the Bohemia mining district south of Eugene.
In 1981 Walter and Ann took a trip to Alaska. After touring the state they worked in Anchorage for a year. They married on May 30, 1982, and began building a home in Willow, where they lived for 29 years and raised their daughters, Linnea and Nori. In 2011 they moved to Homer. Walter continued to work until 2016, when illness made that impossible.
Walter worked as a carpenter, HVAC technician and contractor for Alaska Community Development Corporation, doing business as Pudwill Construction. He weatherized the homes of hundreds of residents in the Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai Peninsula boroughs and remodeled many more to provide handicapped adaptations. He assisted countless neighbors and friends with construction projects and minor emergencies. He could build or fix almost anything.
Walter enjoyed anything related to rocks and dirt, from prospecting to gardening. His compost was rich and wormy and his gardens abundant. As often as possible he spent weeks on Bohemia Mountain, working on his claims. He loved to dip net, hunt for moose, pick blueberries and read.
Most of all he loved his daughters. He built rocking chairs, doll houses, tree houses and a basketball court for them, read hundreds of stories, and helped with school activities. He taught them to camp, fish, shoot a gun, change a tire, work hard and have fun. He loved taking them to Bohemia Mountain the summer before he died.
Walter’s sense of humor was infamous, dry and constant, even through the worst periods of illness. He was as tough as the nails he pounded and as gentle as the flowers he grew. His last message to his family was “Thanks.”
“We aren’t sure how we’ll manage without him, but are grateful that his suffering is over,” his family said.
Walter was preceded in death by his father, Raymond Pudwill.
Walter’s survivors include his wife, Ann Dixon; daughters, Nori Dixon and Dr. Linnea Pudwill Smith; sister, Mary Clare Hargrove; brother, Dennis Pudwill; step-mother, Jackie Pudwill; mother, Mary Ellen Hartford; nieces, Maya Lowry and Karen Hargrove; and great-niece and great-nephew Zane and Kate Lowry.
Arrangements were by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.