Story Last modified at 10:31 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Sept. 5, 1978- Dec. 20, 2010
James "Ryan" Calkins, 32, died Dec. 20, 2010, at Providence Alaska Medical Center from heart failure.
Ryan was born Sept. 5, 1978, in Omaha, Neb., to J.R. and Jean Calkins. The family moved to Alaska in 1989.
He always loved Alaska and considered it his home. He loved to hunt, fish, camp, and go four-wheeling. He was an avid guitar player for years and loved music. His favorite story was about his band opening for Pantera at the Sullivan Arena in July 1997.
He graduated from Chugiak High School in 1997. He served in the U.S. Navy from 2001 to 2005 as an avionics technician in Squadron VF-31. He received the National Defense Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Letter of Commendation (Flag), Good Conduct Award and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Ryan always said his ideal job would be to travel the United States and find the best cheeseburger, so his family had cheeseburgers for Christmas while Ryan has his "Cheeseburger in Paradise" (a favorite Jimmy Buffett song). Ryan was also an organ donor.
He is survived by his parents of Wasilla; sisters, Shannan Calkins of Yakima, Wash., and Adrianne Strout of Anchorage; nephews, Jaiden Calkins and Trey Strout; and grandmothers Phyllis Napiecek of Maryville, Mo. and Ernestine Goldsberry of Green Valley, Ariz. He also leaves aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.
A celebration of life will be held in a few weeks. Please check his Facebook page for details. In lieu of flowers, a memorial account has been set up at the Wells Fargo Bank: The Ryan Calkins Memorial Fund, Account # 6734578468. If you donate, please leave contact information so we may thank you properly.
Funeral arrangements by Alaskan Heritage Memorial Chapel.
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.