Sylvester David Kiyonuk “Sandy” Mazen

Sylvester David Kiyonuk “Sandy” Mazen

March 16, 1928 — Sept. 6, 2021

Sylvester David Kiyonuk “Sandy” Mazen, 93, of Homer died peacefully at his home on Sept. 6, 2021.

Mazen was born to Sylvester David Mazen and Gertrude Kolkman Mazen at the mission in Teller, Alaska, on March 16, 1928. He was named after his father, with his Inupiaq godfather adding “Kiyonuk” for the sandy color of Mazen’s hair. Mazen’s childhood was spent first in Wales, where his parents were teachers, then Shaktoolik, and by the time he was ready to start school, the family had settled in Nome.

Like many Alaska youngsters, Mazen was sent out of state to live with family during World War II. He returned in time to complete his senior year, graduating from Nome High School in 1946.

Following graduation, Mazen enlisted in the United States Army, and served in Nome, Pt. Nome, Shemya, Adak and Fairbanks. While in Fairbanks, he met and married Shirley Tonseth and the couple relocated to Washington state before Mazen was honorably discharged at Ft. Lawton, near Seattle.

Mazen earned a Doctor of Education at Washington State University. He taught at elementary, middle, and high schools in Washington before accepting a position to teach marriage and family counseling at Arizona State University.

A licensed psychologist, Mazen trained with William H. Masters, Virginia E. Johnson and Lonnie Barbach, known for their work in the field of human sexuality, developed human sexuality classes for ASU’s counselor education department, pioneered a counseling program for sexual offenders serving time in Arizona state prisons, and traveled to Russia and China as part of a university-level exchange program addressing social and cultural topics. He also worked with Heuristics Systems to train U.S. Department of Labor employees across the United States and was a staff member for Omega Vector, a personal development program.

The Mazens had four children — Tina, Bruce, Janelle and Steve. Mazen enjoyed fishing, camping and sailing with his family and was an avid skier. He and Shirley divorced while living in Arizona, and she died several years later.

Mazen’s interest in sailing grew. After purchasing the Hanta Yo, a 41-foot ketch-rigged sailboat, he launched his longest sailing adventure from San Diego, down the West Coast to Mexico and Central America, turning west from Panama to the Galapagos, the Marquesas and Tahiti, and completing the journey by sailing the Hanta Yo to Homer.

Settling in Homer, Mazen enjoyed helping with daughter and son-in-law Tina and Paul Seaton’s fish tendering operation. He volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol and served on the KBBI Citizens Advisory Board. Mazen trained as a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer, spending hundreds of hours patrolling Kachemak Bay, assisting mariners and promoting boating and water safety for all ages in communities around the state. As a USCG Auxiliary member, Mazen was privileged to sail on the USCGC Hickory’s maiden voyage from Cleveland, Ohio, to Homer, round trip from Homer to Hawaii and from Homer along Alaska’s West Coast as far north as Little Diomede and Wales.

After meeting McKibben Jackinsky, the two self-proclaimed happy-to-be-single singles married, discovering they could be happier together and adapting a snowbird lifestyle, traveling between Homer and the Oregon Coast.

Throughout his life, Mazen valued his connection to Nome. He visited numerous times and participated in multiple events celebrating that link. In his memoir “Kiyonuk, An Arctic Alaska boyhood,” Mazen shared stories from his adventurous life. While halibut fishing with his son Steve in August 2020, he suffered a torn aorta and spinal stroke. His strength and courage saw him through an additional year of life, thanks to Homer’s medical and caregiving resources.

Mazen is preceded in death by his parents, sister Constance Benston, brother Glenn Mazen, and first wife Shirley Tonseth Mazen. He is survived by wife McKibben Jackinsky; daughters Christine (Paul) Seaton and Janelle (Al) Orth; sons Bruce (Pamela Chandran) Mazen and Steve (Brenda) Mazen; granddaughter Tawny (Shaun) Reynolds; grandsons Rand (Lauren) Seaton and Nick, Declan and Gryffin Mazen; great-granddaughters Hazel Reynolds and Nora Seaton; nieces Heather (Arnold) Korbmacher, Oriana (John) Burns, and Nicole (Colin Johnson) Mazen; nephews Chris (Kim) Hansen and Eric Hansen; step-daughters Jennifer (Craig) Stinson and Emily (Joe)Aley; step-grandson Colby Aley; step-granddaughters Sophia Aley, and Gable and Harper Stinson; and canine companion Huck.

Donations in his name may be made to the Homer Foundation, 3733 Ben Walters Lane, Suite 7, Homer, Alaska 99603.

A celebration of Mazen’s life will be held at a later date.