Ilya Gherman, born in 1959, passed away in the winter of 2022. Ilya was born in Moscow to Jewish parents. He graduated from Moscow Art School in 1982 with a degree in textile design and tapestry. He immigrated to the United States in 1987 and pursued his dream of moving to Alaska two years later. It was in the vast wilderness of Alaska that Ilya found the independence and freedom he had always sought. He is survived by his children, Shlomo and Mina, and his wife, Dina Gherman. He took great pride in being a father, instilling values of respect, courage, and loyalty in his family.
Ilya is remembered fondly for his creativity, generosity, and exceptional artistic talent. Many people know him for his paintings and textiles. He was entirely self-taught in English, and his first job was driving a taxi in Boston. Soon after, he embarked on a career as a carpenter. Upon arriving in Alaska, he took on the role of a substitute teacher in Amber, Alaska, and also explored the world of commercial fishing. Later, Ilya became a well-known artist in the community of Homer and had a one-man show at the Pratt Museum. At one point, he was commissioned by the famous Russian artist Erte to create several tapestries based on his designs. In addition to his artistic pursuits, Ilya contributed to the local community as a skilled carpenter, constructing numerous homes across Alaska including his family home.
Ilya possessed an adventurous spirit, reveling in outdoor activities such as camping, foraging, and fishing. While living in Ambler, Alaska, Ilya once decided to go on a dog sled ride and got lost, but he survived by digging a snow cave and piling the sled dogs on top of him.
One of Ilya’s cherished pastimes was taking his family to Anchor Point beach to enjoy the sunsets. He was known for his warm hospitality, frequently hosting gatherings for close friends and welcoming others with open arms. His quick wit and sense of humor endeared him to all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
We encourage the community to take a moment to reflect on the countless ways they were touched by Ilya’s generosity and warmth.
Memorial services will be held on September 17th, from 4 to 8 pm. We also extend an invitation to share your cherished memories and stories of Ilya Gherman on this living online memorial website.