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John Honea was born in 1911 to Polly Nohunolno and John McGuire at Kokrines, a now-abandoned village 27 miles upriver from Ruby, Alaska. His mother was an Athabascan from Kokrines and his father was an Irishman who died in 1912 when John was just a year old. John was raised by Mary Dean and Billy Honea, until they separated in 1923. At the age of twelve, John was on his own, so from an early age he had to teach himself to hunt, trap, and fish for a living. He also made a living by cutting firewood, herding reindeer, helping miners near Ruby, and working with dogteam mail carriers. In 1936, he married his wife, Lorraine. From 1937 until 1962, John and Lorraine spent each fall, winter, and spring trapping on the Nowitna River, near the mouths of the Sulukna and Sulatna Rivers. They each ran their own trapline by dogteam or on foot. Summers were spent on the Yukon River, where they fished to put up a winter's supply of salmon. They made dried king salmon strips for themselves and stored bales of split chum salmon for their dogs. In 1962, John and Lorraine moved to Ruby, so they could provide schooling for their three children. They still spent summers at their fish camp, named "The Big Eddy," about 20 miles upstream from Ruby. After the children were grown, they spent more and more time at camp, and less in Ruby. John was known as a hard-working ambitious man, right up until his death in 1996. John and Lorraine Honea's life together is further described in the book entitled John Honea - Ruby: A Biography by Curt Madison and Yvonne Yarber (1981: Hancock House Publishers, Blaine, WA).
John Honea passed away in 1996 at age 85.