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Paul Starr

Paul Starr

Paul Starr was an Athabascan elder born in 1939 to Elizabeth (Evan) and Alfred Starr, Sr. in Tanana, Alaska. He was one of ten children and grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle based upon hunting, trapping, and fishing. Paul spent his early childhood in Tanana and out on the trapline at Birch Creek in the Lake Minchumina area. His family moved to Nenana when Paul was about 12 so the children could attend school. He started working at a young age for a powerline company out of Nenana. He also worked for Parker's Patch as a firefighter and trapper and as an ironworker on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the Yukon River bridge. In 1980, Paul began working as a deckhand on Ramona Barge where, with encouragement from owner Claude Demientieff, he worked his way up to pilot, which included obtaining his 100 ton master riverboat pilot's license. In his later years, Paul was a school bus driver in Tanana, helped his wife, Mary, operate their Yukon-Starr Bed & Breakfast, gave riverboat tours, and worked various construction jobs in the community, including as a heavy equipment operator with Brice Inc. In 1984, he married Mary Ellen Miller.

Paul loved to be out in the woods or on the river and never said "no" to a hunting trip, a chance to cut wood or a chance to pick berries. He enjoyed being at fish camp, building snowmachine sleds, faithfully reading his Bible every day, fiddle dances, dog races and camping at Fish Creek. Paul was very giving of his time and volunteered as an emergency medical technician, served on the Tanana City Council, was a Tribal Court Judge, and was on the boards of the Kokrine Hills' Bible camp and the Denali Resource Subsistence Commission. In 2010, he received the Patti L. Hyslop award for "leadership in sobriety" from the Tanana Tribal Council. Given his experience of living off of and traveling on the land, Paul was a keen observer and had great knowledge of environmental conditions in the area, and was known for teaching traditional knowledge to young people. Paul Starr passed away in June 2010 at age 70. For more about Paul Starr, see his obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper.

Date of Birth:
Sep 16, 1939
Date of Death:
Jun 17, 2010
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