Former city manager, assembly member Drathman dies

Former Homer City Manager and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Ronald Drathman, 71, died last Thursday of natural causes at South Peninsula Hospital. There will be a memorial service at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at the Homer Elks Lodge.

Drathman served as Homer City Manager from June 1999 to January 2003 and on the borough assembly for two three-year terms from 1993-1999, serving two years as board president. While serving as city manager he helped secure funding for an expansion of the Homer Port and Harbor, including building the Pioneer Dock. He also spearheaded annexation of about 4.5-square-miles outside city limits into the city of Homer.

“Ron’s professional life was active, interesting and very productive,” Homer City Manager Walt Wrede said in a press release. “His contributions to this community were substantial throughout his life.”

Born Aug. 13, 1942, in Cleveland, Ohio, he moved to Phoenix, Ariz., at age 13. At 17, Drathman dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Navy. After the Navy he took classes at Arizona State University, alternately taking classes and working in Alaska. He flew for Merrill Flight Service and worked on the Alaska Railroad. After getting his undergraduate degree, he received a jurist doctorate from Stetson University College of Law. He married Leslie Coppins in 1966, and they had a son, Zachary Drathman, in 1971.

In 1973 he returned to Alaska and worked as a state public defender in Anchorage. He later worked in private practice. In 1982 he married Susan Bashaw, and in 1984 they moved to Homer. They had two children together, Alexandra and Max.

In addition to his public service, Drathman was active in his children’s sports, including Little League, football, hockey and soccer. He was awarded a lifetime membership in the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Kenai Aerie 3525.

Drathman is survived by Susan Drathman; his son and daughter-in-law, Zachary and Kelly Drathman; his son, Max Drathman; his daughter and son-in-law, Alex and George McGuan; his grandsons Leif, Parker, and Quinn Drathman; his brother and sister-in-law, David and Beth Drathman; his sister and brother-in law, Kathy and Chris Knoth; many nieces, great nieces and nephews, and his dear friend, Tim Navarre.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, people make a charitable donation to Little League of Homer or another project close to their hearts.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at