Captain Jack Virgil Johnson renowned Alaskan Master Mariner, let go the lines, crossed the final bar and set course for “Fiddler’s Green” on March 27, 2014.
Captain Jack was born in Seattle, Wash. on April 12, 1926 to Jacob H. Johnson and Thea Joness Johnson of Karluk on Kodiak Island, Alaska.
When the family returned to Kodiak, with infant Jack, the Russian Orthodox Priest baptized him and gave the family a second birth certificate in Russian, naming the island of Kodiak as Jack’s birth place.
Jack lived in Karluk until the age of 7, when he was stricken with polio, a disease which required intense medical treatment. At that time the family relocated to Seattle in order for the young son to recover. Jack remained in the hospital for two years, one of which he spent in an iron lung. Jack’s recovery was successful as he grew to his full height of 6 feet, 4 inches.
Shortly after Jack’s 13th birthday, he sailed to the Bering Sea in a cod fish sailing vessel. Thus was born Captain Jack’s life-long romance with the sea. During the next 67 years, Jack sought out and lived an adventurous life, sailing upon the waters of the world. He finally retired in 2006 from the Southwest Alaska Pilot’s Association, at the age of 80.
Captain Jack is preceded in death by both parents and all of his siblings: Theodore, George, Ethel, Thelma and Ivy.
The Captain is survived by his children: Jeff Patton, Giannina Gambozzi, Ola Johnson, Curtis Johnson, Teresa Sellards and Eirik Johnson and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His devoted wife of nearly 40 years, Iris Beresford Johnson, resides at the family home in Seward, Alaska.
Before Captain Jack let go the final lines, his autobiography was completed. This gave the Captain a fitting end to his long and adventurous life.
A Jewish celebratory event is being planned for Anchorage, Alaska. A potluck gathering will be held in Seward, Alaska as well. Dates and times of these events will be announced.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to “The Seward Mariner’s Memorial” Fund, PO Box 3544, Seward, AK 99664. Email: Nancy Erickson at email@example.com. Or donations may be made to the Alaska Jewish Museum and Cultural Center, 1117 E. 35th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99508. Calls may be made to Christine @ 907-279-1200.
At Fiddler’s Green, where seaman true
When here they’ve done their duty
The bowl of grog shall still renew
And pledge to love and beauty.