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Edgar Nollner, Sr.
Edgar Nollner, Sr. was born in 1904 to Alfred Redmon Nollner, a Gold Rush stampeder from Missouri, and Cecelia Frank, whose Koyukon Athabascan name was Morondoyedat/no, in the village of Old Louden, Alaska on the Yukon River. Edgar's early years were spent learning the skills he used all his life, including hunting, trapping, fishing, and reading. He loved school but only completed the third grade because the government closed the school. Edgar was a successful dog musher and won his first sled dog race in 1919, the Ruby Derby, six minutes ahead of the next team. His teams were always well behaved. He would turn them all loose at once and then call them one by one to get hooked up in harness. Once he hooked up his team, no one else could move them. Edgar was well known for being the last living musher of the Diptheria Serum Run of 1925. He also saved the lives of two downed Air Force pilots in the 1950's. He built a fire in fifty degrees below zero and brought them to safety. Edgar never smoked or drank alcohol. He enjoyed sawing wood and shoveling snow by hand. Working in the garden, cutting and drying fish, hunting ducks and moose, driving his little truck, snow machine, and boat, dancing to the fiddle, playing pool, and reading for hours each day were some of the enjoyments of his life. Edgar worked as a woodcutter for the steamboats. Two hundred cords a winter was not unusual for him to cut and haul out to the riverbank. "Two trips to the cord," he would say. He was very proud of his dog's strength. He also helped build the Galena Air Station runway, was a pilot on the river barges, and worked for the U.S. Air Force in Galena. He raised over 28 children, but when asked, "How many children or grandchildren do you have?" He would shrug his shoulders, as he was a humble man and had never counted them. He had a smile and an old story for anyone that would listen and was affectionately know as "Grandpa" to all. (Photograph and biography provided by Larry Hausmann, Edgar Nollner's son-in-law.)
Edgar Nollner, Sr. passed away in 1999 at age 94. For more about him, see Edgar Nollner, Sr.: A Biography by Wendy Arundale (Yukon-Koyukuk School District, 1985).