Walter “Denny” McInnes
Dec. 19, 1931 – July 16, 2017
Long time Alaskan Walter “Denny” McInnes, died in Seldovia with his children by his side on July 16, 2017 at the age of 85. He was born and raised in the Sarnia/Colchester area of Ontario, Canada. He spent his early years on his grandparents’ Mary and John Andrew’s farm and left home in his young teens. With his best friend Jack, he adventured his way south and all the way across the United States to California. They hitched rides in cars and freight trains and instead of getting jobs as cowboy extras in Hollywood, ended up working in a cherry orchard and then as longshoremen in Texas.
Walter held a series of interesting jobs and made sure to always “keep a penny in my pocket.” He was a bicycle telegram delivery boy and repaired televisions in the city of Toronto. In British Columbia he tried his hand at logging, worked on a railroad and was a cook on a ferry. From there, he got a job as a deckhand in Sitka; his first time in Alaska. Walter earned his radio operator license and went to work in the Canadian Arctic on the DEW line.
Walter followed his mother, Bertha Donaldson, to Alaska when she came to homestead in Trapper Creek in 1959. There, he helped build the family cabin and tried to prove up on his own claim, but it was a hard life for a young man. The lure of good work and good money called him south to the fishing community of Seldovia, where he stayed and lived happily with his family for many years.
In Seldovia, Walter made his mark. Over the years, he worked on the Barbara Creek bridge, the fuel tank farm, the new Seldovia school, the new harbor, surveying projects and laying the electric lines from Seldovia over the mountains and into Port Graham. He also worked in the cannery and on fishing boats; a true jack of all trades. After he met and fell in love with his wife Margaret, Walter raised his family while working as a logger and then later as a meter reader and back up power plant operator for Homer Electric Association. Walter walked miles and miles each month to read meters all throughout the south part of the peninsula and was well loved by customers from McDonald Spit to Port Graham and Nanwalek.
In 1998, Walter became a permanent citizen of the United States and was very proud of that status. He spent his retirement years focusing on volunteering in the community and is perhaps best known and appreciated for his fifteen years as a Seldovia City Councilman. He participated in numerous boards and organizations in the community. His record for attending community meetings will be hard to beat as will his penchant for potlucks and storytelling. To Walter, there were no strangers in Seldovia. Everyone he encountered got a friendly hello, a little story about the history of Seldovia and a big welcoming smile. He was one of the best ambassadors for the community and his life attitude to “enjoy every day” will be well remembered.
Walter is preceded in death by his mother Bertha Donaldson, his brother Frasier McInnes and his wife Margaret McInnes. He is survived by his sister Lois McInnes Freeman and his children Rebecca Weldy, Rosanna McInnes, Kristina Serezhenkov and John Andrew McInnes. He is also survived by his grandchildren Roy and Rosabella Bellamy, Ed, Alex, John and Anna Serezhenkov, Samuel and Zachary Scribner and Nicolaus and James Weldy.
A graveside dedication will be performed at the Seldovia cemetery at 12 noon on Father’s Day, June 17 and a Memorial potluck will take place afterward at the Gateway Pavilion in Seldovia at 3 p.m. All who knew and loved Walter are invited.