Bruce Kendall was larger than life

Bruce Byers Kendall was born Feb. 28, 1919, in Martinsburg, Neb.

He left home at an early age, and at 16 worked on a merchant ship that sailed to many parts of the world.

He moved to Alaska in 1939, where he married Mae McCabe and had two children. He also had four daughters from previous marriages back in Iowa.

Bruce Kendall was a successful Alaska businessman and owned several hotels in Anchorage. He was also active in Alaska politics. He served in the first few Alaska legislatures as a representative. He was elected minority leader in the House from 1959 to 1963, and was elected speaker of the house in 1963-1964. He was speaker during the 1964 Alaska earthquake and was instrumental in Alaska's recovery. He worked closely with his friend and colleague, former Gov. Bill Egan.

Bruce Kendall was known as an effective leader as a legislator and as a hard-working businessman. His projects were many, including the Iditarod Dog Sled Race for which he co-signed a loan so that it could begin with a successful start. He lived and worked in Alaska for over 50 years.

Bruce Kendall was a unique, generous and optimistic man. He was, and will be, remembered as larger than life. The Alaska Governor's Office issued a statement and lowered the flag on July 11, 2012, to honor his many years of service to Alaska.

He passed away July 6, 2012, in Napa, Calif. at the age of 93.

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