Dennis Lee “Scotty” Barron
Dennis Lee Barron (nicknamed Scotty) was born in Ironwood, Michigan, on July 5, 1938, the first-born son of Archibald and Erma (Peterson) Barron.
He graduated from Ironwood High School in 1956. In 1957 he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, being honorably discharged in 1959.
In 1960 he married and moved to Ruby, Alaska, and raised his four children where he took his sons to learn hunting and trapping, and dog sledding. In 1962 he became the first mayor of Ruby and was instrumental in installing the first electrical service to the town.
After his service in the Army, Scotty was primarily employed in the construction field in the summer and ran trap lines in the winter. In 1964 he worked on the dike for the airstrip runway at Galena.
In the spring of 1965, Scotty was taken out to scout a beaver trap line. He was told it would be for only 10 days and that is as much food and supplies he took with him. But his transportation didn’t return as promised. Inclement weather prevented him from walking out and those 10 days turned into 40 long and agonizing days before help returned and he was rescued.
In June 1967, he and his family returned to Fairbanks. Shortly thereafter, the town experienced a major flood so Scotty and the family and all their possessions floated back to Ruby on the Tanana and Yukon Rivers.
In 1969 he went to Prudhoe Bay to build housing for the pipeline workers and stayed in construction for the next 10 years. From 1975 to 1977 he was the foreman at Five Mile Camp. Every day he would travel 75 miles in each direction to check the pipeline. He built 12 bridges from Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs, the bridge at Safety in Nome, the bridge from Dutch Harbor to Unalaska, and the dock in Valdez that had collapsed during the 1964 earthquake.
He returned to Nome looking for work and was employed by the City during which time he oversaw the building of the Visitor’s Center, the morgue, the Senior Center, the Mini Convention Center, the fire station in Icy View, and the Recreational Center. The Recreation Center hosted the first Iditarod banquet in March 1984, and that is where he met the love of his life, May Steinke. They were married in Nome on September 14, 1984. In January 1985, May’s daughter joined them in Nome.
Scotty continued to work in maintenance for all the buildings he helped to construct in Nome until he was injured in 1990 while tearing down the old grade school.
Scotty was a member of Pioneer Igloo No. 1 in Nome. In September 1996, construction for the new Igloo building was begun. With the help of other pioneer members, Scotty helped design and stayed with the project until it was completed in 2002.
Scotty enjoyed visiting with people and telling stories about trapping, mining, and working on the pipeline. Scotty spent his summers gold mining with May and Cristi. He also enjoyed taking their grandchildren, Charels and Shyla, to camp and teach them how to find gold, ride four wheelers, fish and on occasion watching grizzly bears. Scotty’s passion was the mine, and he continued the never-ending pursuit of gold until 2020. He also spent summers with family and friends at Bob Barron’s camp in Council. Passing on his knowledge of the great outdoors and life lessons on everything from how to fillet a fish to navigating the rivers of the Niukluk and Casadepaga Rivers. Anyone who knew him loved him and will always remember to “clean your plate as you never know when that meal might not be there.”
Scotty passed away on December 28, 2020, in Hillsboro, Oregon, surrounded by family.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, May Barron of Nome, Alaska; sons Mitchell of Oregon and Darrell (Reba Sunday) of Fairbanks; daughters Jerry Barron of North Pole, Lillie (Mike) Bay of Wasilla, and Cristi (Jose) Tungwenuk of Oregon, 13 grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, a great granddaughter due in June, and a great grandchild due in November.
He is also survived by his brothers Albert and Archibald, and sisters Glenda and Ethel and numerous nieces and nephews including one nephew in the U.S. Army serving in Korea.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Jane and Lois.
Scotty’s three passions in life were loving the Lord Jesus Christ, his wife and his family and friends of whom there were many. I want to thank many people but not naming names in case I miss someone. Thank you for the help, the love, phone calls, the prayers. Thank you all.
One of the last things Scotty said was: Keep the faith.
No services are planned. His ashes will be spread privately with family present.