Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 8:16 PM on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Forest Winfield Wilkins

May 21, 1930 - May 10, 2011


Forest Winfield Wilkins

Longtime Homer resident, Mr. Forest W. Wilkins, 80, died May 10, 2011, of acute myeloid leukemia, at South Peninsula Hospital in the presence of loved ones and his Anchor Point church of Christ family.

At Forest's request, there will be no formal services. A small ceremony will take place at Hickerson Memorial Cemetery where he will be laid to rest near his son and daughter. Another celebration of life is planned later this summer at his Caribou Lake cabin.

Forest married Betty J. Steelman on June 17, 1948, in Reno, Nev. They lived in the Sunnyside, Prosser and Pasco, Wash., area until moving to Alaska in 1963. They drove up the Alaska Highway in a converted school bus with their five children. The bus didn't make it, but with luck the family arrived in Homer. They lived with the Steelman family at 8 Mile Sterling Highway before moving to Diamond Ridge and then to Ohlson Mountain. Forest worked for the state of Alaska Department of Transportation in Homer for a few years before transferring to Seldovia, where he maintained the 12 miles of Jakalof Bay Road. They moved back to Homer in 1978, where he retired from the State of Alaska in 1982. He then worked a few more years part-time for the state of Alaska before retiring for good and moving out of the state in l989.

After leaving Alaska, Forest lived over 10 years in Tualatin, Ore., spent a winter in Basin, Wyo., and some time in Benton City, Wash. During his absence from Alaska, he traveled extensively in the United States, all the way from the Florida Keys to Calgary, Canada, to Mexico and places in between, visiting and making friends along the way. Forest spent many years "wintering" in Yuma, Ariz. He was an avid "rockhound" with his brother Harvey and sister Peggy. He especially liked rockhounding in Wyoming and Arizona. He enjoyed making silver jewelry from his "finds" and giving it to his family and friends.

A highlight in the life of this outdoorsman was the hiking and camping trip he and his brother Harvey took when Forest was a young man in his late 60s. Together they hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, camping along the way and at the bottom. After taking a "breather" the brothers turned around and headed back up the steep sides of the canyon, making once in a lifetime memories along the trip.

Forest moved back to Homer in 2003 and spent the remainder of his life there. He was a fixer, a fisherman, a hunter and avid gun collector. He worked hard during his lifetime and enjoyed his time spent outdoors all over the state. His family and friends have many memories of him hunting in the Caribou Lake area and fishing and crabbing in the waters of Kachemak Bay and clamming on the shores of Cook Inlet.

Forest is preceded in death by his parents, George and Florence Wilkins; his brother George (Jack); his daughter Polly and his infant son Rodney. Forest is survived by his brother Harvey Wilkins of Wyoming; his sisters Celia Page Burris and Peggy Davis, both of Wyoming; Terrie Howard of Washington and Kathy Pierce of Oregon; his wife Betty; his sons Robert of Oregon and Bradley of Ohio; his daughters Judy and Susan, both of Oregon and Lynda of Ohio; and 15 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.