Devoted husband, father and grandfather, and longtime Fairbanksan, Mark Drygas still left us for his eternal house because of to an evident heart assault while fishing at Quartz Lake on June 23, 2021. Born in Highland Park, California, on Feb. 15, 1950, he was the eldest of 3 young children to Knight and Margaret Drygas.
Mark’s lifelong love of carpentry and woodworking was sparked when his father, a union carpenter, gave him his very first instrument belt when he was 9 yrs aged. He was a normal athlete and relished baseball, swimming and water polo. A Los Angeles City Champion swimmer, he expended two years at Pierce Jr. University swimming and taking part in water polo. A single of his very first jobs was as a lifeguard on Venice Seaside in Los Angeles.
Searching for journey and an escape from metropolis lifestyle, Mark approved a swimming scholarship to the College of Alaska Fairbanks and headed up the Alcan Freeway in his ’64 Volkswagen Beetle in August 1970. A person 12 months afterwards, he traveled back to California to marry his wife of almost 50 a long time, Kathy. Just one semester shy of his diploma in actual physical instruction, Mark left college to perform for the town of Fairbanks Parks and Recreation. Finally, he joined countless numbers of other Alaskans and outsiders to establish the trans-Alaska pipeline. Mark entered Carpenters Regional 1243 in Fairbanks as a journeyman, doing work on Pump Station 10 as a foreman at the age of 25. Their son, Erik, was born in 1976, adopted by daughters Heidi in 1978 and Holly in 1979.
Soon after construction on the pipeline was entire, Mark labored as a carpenter on several of Fairbanks’s biggest design assignments, together with undertaking superintendent of North Pole High University and Pearl Creek Elementary University, a carpenter on Tanana Valley Clinic, Fairbanks Memorial Medical center, Noel Wien Library, and the Plumbers and Pipefitters new schooling heart, just to identify a number of.
In 1988, Mark took a position as a Area 71 remote routine maintenance employee at the Alaska Department of Transportation’s Chandalar Camp on the Dalton Highway, a camp he assisted assemble in 1981. Soon immediately after, superiors noticed his talent and unmatched function ethic and promoted Mark to foreman of all routine maintenance camps on the Dalton Freeway east of Fairbanks.
But what Mark wanted, a lot more than anything, was to be a experienced firefighter. In 1991, Mark was hired as a rookie firefighter at the age of 41. It was at the Fairbanks Fire Department, with his fellow firefighters, where Mark uncovered his genuine calling. Just two years following his firefighter career began, Mark was elected president and enterprise agent of IAFF Area 1324, a situation he held for 9 decades. Mark labored tirelessly to increase the operating disorders for firefighters and to involve additional feminine firefighters amongst their ranks.
Mark realized that Alaska’s expert firefighters needed a statewide voice and assisted to build the Alaska Experienced Firefighters Affiliation (AKPFFA) in 2004, serving as their founding president. As a result of his tenure, Mark helped to correctly shepherd the landmark Presumptive Incapacity Monthly bill for firefighters. He served as AKPFFA president till 2011. Mark retired from the hearth office in 2012 at the age of 62. He and Kathy invested their winters in Palm Springs where they soaked up the California sunshine, and he could swim outside just about every day.
Mark was incredibly kind, heat, swift to snicker, had an infectious smile, and deeply and profoundly beloved his household. Mark has typically explained that inspite of many victories and successes in excess of the many years, his proudest accomplishment was raising his 3 young children. Mark was a devoted father, coaching many of Erik’s hockey, baseball and soccer teams and Heidi and Holly’s softball groups. There ended up quite a few family members tenting and fishing trips on the Chena River and the family’s yearly Fourth of July excursion on the Gulkana River.
Mark loved to devote time on the ocean and spent innumerable hours fishing for silver salmon in Valdez aboard his C-dory, the Dakota Drifter. There was no location he was happier and additional at peace than on the ocean. He was also a superb prepare dinner. In retirement, Mark loaded the loved ones textual content thread with numerous photographs of his most current culinary endeavors. He and his spouse elevated their spouse and children to appreciate great, property-cooked meals, and to realize the great importance of the spouse and children desk.
Mark was preceded in demise by his moms and dads, Knight Drygas and Margaret Starbuck. He is survived by his spouse of nearly 50 a long time, Kathy their 3 little ones, Erik Drygas (Emily) Heidi Drygas (Kevin Sund) Holly Sears (Sam) brother, Brian Drygas (Karen) sister, June Adams (Stan) and his five beloved granddaughters, Annika and Ava Drygas, Claire and Myla Sears, and Olive Sund.
A celebration of Mark’s existence will be held at the metropolis of Fairbanks Hearth Division downtown headquarters on Saturday, Aug. 7, at 2 p.m. Donations in Mark’s honor can be created to the Alaska Professional Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund, P.O. Box 111222, Anchorage, AK, 99511.
Printed by Every day News-Miner on Jul. 18, 2021.