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Harold "Hal" Tilleson was born in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1935 and grew up in a family that mined at remote locations in Alaska from 1937 to 1953, including at Long Creek near Ruby, Alaska. His stepfather, Hans Tilleson, owned the Long Creek Mining Company. Harold starting mining when he was ten years old and learned to operate large machinery like a D8 Caterpillar. When mining closed down during World War II, the family moved to Arlington, Washington and bought a farm. Harold was schooled in Washington. After the war, the family returned to Alaska and mined until 1953. Harold worked at mining with his family and for the Goodnews Bay Mining Company at Platinum, Alaska. He eventually moved to Fairbanks to work for the Alaska Department of Highways. He worked as an operator - operating blades, trucks, and snow plows - in Valdez, Glennallen, Paxton, and Fairbanks. He was an expert operator, having run heavy equipment since he was a boy in mining camps. In 1968, when oil was discoverd near Prudhoe Bay, Harold helped build the Hickel Highway winter ice road that was being constructed for delivery of supplies to the North Slope. Harold retired in 1998, but remains active in the community of North Pole, where he has lived since 1969. He enjoys taking pictures and making movies that document his history, is involved with Santa's Senior Center in North Pole, and has been writing a book about his life titled "Walking the North in Search of Gold."