Story Last modified at 10:36 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Stanley "Skip" Burton Vrem
Stanley "Skip" Burton Vrem
Dec. 14, 1926- Dec. 28, 2010
Stanley "Skip" Burton Vrem, 84, died at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage on Dec. 28, 2010, of complications from a fall in his home.
Stan was born Dec. 14, 1926 in Rolette, ND. In January of 1945, after graduating from high school, Stan joined the U.S. Navy. After basic training he was stationed at 29 Palms Naval Air Station in California. He was transferred to Tsingtao in support of the U.S. Marines disarming Japanese forces. He returned to the U.S. as a fireman on the USS Antares leaving Tsingtao April 18, 1946 arriving in San Francisco late May, and was subsequently discharged from the Navy.
Stan came to Alaska in 1947 with four of his childhood buddies, working seasonal construction jobs around the state and returning in the winters to North Dakota. During one of those winter trips he married Eunice Gilje of Rolette on November 25, 1951. March of 1952 the newlyweds drove the Alaska Highway to Alaska and have remained here since. Eunice and Stan moved to Artillery Road in Eagle River in 1954 and were active in the young community serving as volunteers in numerous school, civic, and sports organizations. From 1951 to 1954 Stan worked as a mechanic in Anchorage. In 1957 he joined the Operating Engineers Union Local 302 and retired in 1984. As a 302 member he worked all over Alaska and was one of the pioneers on the North Slope. He was involved in constructing airfields and the early oil field support locations.
He continued to work on and off the North Slope until his retirement. Both in his working life and in his retirement Stan's grandchildren were his passion and joy. Eunice and Stan's unwavering financial and emotional support have allowed their grandchildren to develop into the successful adults they are now.
Stan will be remembered for his volunteerism with youth hockey. He was the hockey rink caretaker at Chugiak High School in the 1970's. He built the warm-up shack and supplied firewood in addition to maintaining the ice rinks at CHS with Harry McDonald. He was the rink parent to many Chugiak Eagle River hockey players. Stan also coached the Chugiak/Eagle River 1971-1972 Pee Wee B team and 1972-73 and 1973-74 Bantam B teams winning a citywide championship in 1974.
Stan is survived by his wife Eunice; children and spouses, Kelly and Linda Vrem of Sutton, Kevin Vrem of Anchorage and Detroit, Lisa and Marc Heady of Anchorage, and Tracy and Linda Vrem of Eagle River; grandchildren, Alison and her husband, Erik Harrington, Megan of Salt Lake City, Kelsey of Girdwood, Madisyn, Kaylee, and Brae of Eagle River and Brandon Heady of Anchorage. Stan is also survived by his siblings Peggy Vrem, Joyce Zimmerman, and Paul Vrem as well as many nieces and nephews.
Stan was preceded in death by his parents Earl and Alice Vrem, brothers Verl, Blyss, and James, and sister Betty.
A Celebration of Life was held Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 at Joy Lutheran Church in Eagle River. All who knew Stan were invited.
Arrangements are with Eagle River Evergreen Memorial. In lieu of flowers or contributions, Stan would have preferred folks to continue volunteering their time and or donating to local youth sports organizations. Cards may be sent to P.O. Box 175, Eagle River, AK 99577.
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.