Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Perry Gines

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA-- Nearly everyone who comes here for any length of time, ends up staying here or wishing they could. "Alaska is different," people here say, and that is evident everywhere one looks.

I'm here for a few days on non-genealogical business, but of course I took some time to find a genealogical connection. That connection is Perry Wesley Gines, Sr. (1929-1986). Perry, who was known as "Bobby," was the second son born to William Edward Gines (1898-1955) and Annie Florida ("Flo") Corrine Long (1902-1986), in Kansas City, Missouri.

After high school, Bobby joined the Coast Guard. He loved the Coast Guard and thrived in it. What Bobby loved at least as much as the Coast Guard was Kay Frances Fulks (1932-1986), a girl from Arkansas, with two little boys by the time she was 15. When a man loves a woman as much as Bobby loved Kay, there are bound to be some dramatic elements to the story. And indeed in this story, there were. For many reasons, those are not for the retelling here.

Bobby got stationed at Kodiak Island, Alaska, and he loved Alaska too. When he retired from the Coast Guard, after more than 33 years of service, he decided to stay in Alaska. That's not an uncommon decision by military personnel. Anecdotally, more than 90% of Alaska's black population came here with the military.

Bobby was a chief warrant officer when he retired. He opened a business, Gines Construction Company, in Anchorage. After making a go of their business for several years in Alaska, it was time for Bobby and Kay to return to Kansas City in late 1985. They were both ill, as was Bobby's mother, Flo.

On April 1, 1986, Bobby's mother died. Bobby and Kay would soon follow. Kay went first on May 29, 1986, and then Bobby on July 25, 1986.

Perry Wesley Gines, Sr., and Kay Frances Fulks are buried at Leavenworth National Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas. But the legacy of their devotion to each other and Bobby's devotion to the Coast Guard lives on in Alaska. At the University of Alaska Anchorage's Kodiak College, the Kay and Perry Gines scholarship provides funds to allow military personnel, former military personnel, and their dependents an opportunity to further their education.

No comments: