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Alaskan upbringing still music to retiree’s ears

Tim Brunner is retiring after 26 years as an administrator in the Ellsworth School District. Brunner began here as Hillcrest Elementary School Principal in 1988, then moved to Ellsworth Middle School Assistant Principal in 2005. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

Tim Brunner learned early to fend for himself.

After all, Brunner grew up among a people doing just that. He spent his youth in Angoon, Alaska, where the native Indian tribe adopted him into their ways, relying on fishing and living off the land.

This was before Alaska became a state in 1959, he said Thursday. His location in the then-territory was along an inside passage, near the ocean. There were spectacular views, including mountains and glaciers.

At Juneau High School, Brunner was fond of sports, especially basketball.

“We’d get on a plane and fly over the water,” he said, remembering regular air trips to play other teams.

Literature was his favorite academic subject, he said. He recalled studying the Gold Rush Days for most of a semester.

“We learned a lot about the Northwest,” he said, mentioning a later trip to an Alaskan gold mine. It was on Porcupine Creek and he and his group sucked out water to the bottom of the stream, where they found gold and garnets, he added. They stayed in the only log cabin in the vicinity that summer, built in the 1930s.

For more please read the May 28 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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