Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 3:33 PM on Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Father Simeon Oskolkoff


Father Simeon Oskolkoff

Jan. 16, 1930-June 22, 2011

Father Simeon Oskolkoff, 81, died June 22, 2011, at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

Funeral services were held June 27 at the St. Innocent Orthodox Cathedral in Anchorage. Divine Liturgy was held the morning of June 28 at the Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Ninilchik, followed by burial. Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West as well as Alaska clergy officiated.

Father Oskolkoff was born Jan. 16, 1930, in Anchorage. His baptism and Chrismation were performed by Archpriest Paul Shadura in Ninilchik. He grew up there as did both parents, Simeon G. Oskolkoff and Nadezshda Kvasnikoff.

He was the first born of eight children, and as eldest had many responsibilities. In winter he often had dual roles helping his father deliver mail by dog sled while also checking trap lines along that route.

At age of 16, his pursuit to complete high school at Anchorage High School was set aside to build and operate a commercial fishing hand-trap to assist the family livelihood.

He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18, serving six years during the Korean War. From 1948 until December of 1953, he resumed his secondary education; completed Air Force education and training programs; graduated from two military technical schools; and attained rank of Sergeant Airman, First Class. He was honorably discharged. He served six months on Amchitka Island, followed by Florida assignment (Strategic Air Command;) technical school in Illinois; Special OJT Trainer in Louisiana; and special temporary duty in California.

The GI Bill program allowed him to enroll at St. Tikhon's Russian Orthodox Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. He completed freshman and sophomore studies in 1955-57. He supplemented this returning to Alaska serving Bishop Amvrossy (Merejko) as acting secretary and instructor for religious courses at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. In Sitka he obtained his high school diploma. Father Oskolkoff returned in 1959 to St. Tikhon's Seminary and graduated May 1962. The Rite of Reader was performed by Metropolitan Ireney, Archbishop of Boston, and he returned to the Diocese of Alaska an ordained Reader.

On Jan. 28, 1962, he married Tatitlek village's Sunday school teacher Lubova Gregorieff at Sitka's St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral. She had been invited to Sitka by the Diocesan Bishop for special training. Their meeting led to the matrimony performed before his Deaconate Ordination, March 1962.

Bishop Amvrossy ordained him into the Holy Priesthood at Sitka, April 8, 1962. For 40 of the 49 years as a priest he served a range of village parishes over the years, including villages of the Aleutian Chain, Pribilof Islands, Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula, Southeastern Alaska and Anchorage area.

His Russian-Aleut (Alutiiq) background led to appreciation of people from all Alaska cultures. It helped him in counseling and arranging for distribution of subsistence foods for villagers impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It helped him serve as an elder advisor for the Alaska Native Heritage Center. At one point, it even helped him suggest an area for the founders of the Russian village of Nikolaevsk to settle.

Upon retirement in January 2002, five priestly awards spanned his service including the cherished jeweled Pectoral Cross. His awards for work included five years as treasurer on the Diocesan Counsel. Out of all assignments, he felt serving 14 years on St. Herman's Theological Seminary Board of Trustees was the most rewarding. His most difficult service was the funerals of his parents. His father was buried in 1968 and mother in 2003. Both were buried in the Ninilchik cemetery at Holy Transfiguration Church, where they'd been baptized and married.

Father Simeon Oskolkoff is survived by his wife, Matushka Lubov Oskolkoff; children, Gregory and Ann-Marie; siblings, Selma Leman of Ninilchik, Louise Sambo of Anchorage and Paul Oskolkoff of Homer; and by his beloved family of Alaska parishioners.