1934 – 2016
A real Alaska pioneer, William Toomy Bohlscheid, passed away May 12, 2016, in Fairbanks.
He was born Aug. 9, 1934, in Pocatello, Idaho, as the first child to Harold and Margaret Bohlscheid. Bill was raised skiing, and, in fact, he enjoyed the sport right up until 2014 at age 80.
Bill attended grammar school, middle school and high school in Pocatello. He was drafted into the Army in 1958 and was assigned to the Cold Weather Mountain School (now the Northern Warfare Training Center) at Black Rapids.
At the school, Bill was an instructor of skiing, mountain climbing and river and glacier navigation, which he did until 1961. Bill was such a strong skier that he made the 1960 Olympic Ski Team. Unfortunately, he didn’t compete because of his tenure in the Army.
After his military years, Bill spent several years as a sporting goods salesman at a ski shop in Fairbanks owned by former state legislator, “Red” Boucher. He then moved to Ketchikan, where he spent time rebuilding an old wooden boat, commercial fishing and bar-keeping.
From there, Bill got involved in the pipeline effort as a land surveyor. He talked of surveying the “Spine Road” on the North Slope by taking landmarks and walking ahead of the bulldozer. Bill continued surveying the pipeline corridor as the line was being built, until 1982.
Beginning in 1980, Bill started a river boat service out of Willow. He transported fishing enthusiasts to probable spots along the Susitna River and its tributaries, picking them up at the end of the day.
He purchased a small cabin on Flat Horn Lake, which was approximately 55 river miles from Susitna Landing or approximately 45 air miles west of Anchorage. He owned this lodge business until 1997 when he was forced to sell because of his declining health and the remoteness of the area.
In these years, Bill met and married his soulmate, Claudia. They moved to Delta Junction in 1998 where Bill enjoyed his golden years, upgrading his home, river fishing, skiing and mowing his beautiful lawn (season permitting).
Bill and Claudia moved to Fairbanks in 2015 just as Bill was battling his second round of cancer, feeling a need to be closer to medical facilities. Unfortunately, the second round was quickly followed by a third.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Hal.
Bill is survived by his wife of 31 years, Claudia, and his daughters, Theresa Ramo, of Texas, and Christine Bohlscheid, of California, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Bill requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Cancer Treatment Center or the Lung Cancer Society .
A celebration of life is being planned for June 18 at his home in Fairbanks.