Chester Tapghaghhmii Noongwook
Tapghaay was born on November 3, 1933 in Savoonga, Alaska. It was a sincere blessing for their large family as he was the eldest of seven children. He enjoyed times going camping with the family as a youth and this continued his whole life.
He met his wife Tunni in Savoonga and they were married February 12, 1957 and remained together lovingly until her death October 2018.
He served in the Alaska National Guard for 36 years along with Vernon Waghiyi Sr., Bryan Rookok, Sr., and Raymond Toolie.
Tapghaay worked tirelessly delivering the mail from Gambell to Savoonga by dog sled until 1963 when he became an agent for Wien and Munz airlines. He also served in the Savoonga Search and Rescue for a number of years and served as elder advisory until recently. Additional contributions to his community included representing Savoonga at the Eskimo Walrus Commission and as an elder advisor for Savoonga Whaling Captains Association. He also served as a reindeer herder chief.
Tapghaay began his whaling as the striker for his father in the early 1970’s and on April 21, 1972 he struck Savoonga’s first whale at Pugughileq. He continued and landed 10 more whales on his own.
He is survived by his daughter Filma (Orville) and family, sons late Milton (Phyllis) and family, Thor (Adora) and family, Parson (late Terri) and family, Collin and children Janissa and Coleman, Kenneth (Erin) and family, sisters Clara and (late) Harrison, Thelma and her children, Julia and family, brother Dwight, Elvin and family, (late) Edwin and family.
He’s preceded in death by both his parents Nathan and Jeanette, his sons Milton and Verlin, and several grandchildren, and many of his relatives.
He favored Janissa Sivungahmii and Coleman, he loved them so much, as well as all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Thank you for everything you have done for us. Thank you for all you have taught us. We will lovingly miss you…until we meet again.