Wednesday, January 23, 2008

William Dale Arvey

William Dale Arvey lost his year-and-a-half-long struggle against brain cancer on Jan. 18, 2008.

Born May 23, 1941, in Boise, Idaho, he died in his home in Hailey, Idaho. The son of Martin Dale Arvey and Jane Phyllis Brodhead, who preceded him in death, he followed his father into the field of science. He and his family lived in Boise until 1944 when they moved to Boulder, Colo. (1944-1946), Lawrence, Kan., (1946-1949), Norman, Okla. (1949-1950), and Hailey, Idaho (1951-1952), where he was in Mrs. Ida Buhler's fifth-grade class. In 1953 the family settled in Lakewood, Calif. After graduating from Lakewood High School in 1959, he spent a year in Bogotá, Colombia, with his family. He received a B.S. at Long Beach State College in 1963, an M.A. in Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967, and a Ph.D. in Zoophysiology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in 1974, for which he investigated freezing tolerance of adult carabid beetles by examining the seasonal levels and metabolic pathways of several cryogenic compounds.

Bill worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for 20 years, stationed in Homer, Anchorage and Fairbanks. Most of this time was spent as regional research supervisor directing salmon studies throughout northern and western Alaska. In Fairbanks, Bill was the area management biologist and supervised management of recreational fisheries throughout the Arctic, Yukon, and Kuskokwim areas. He was known and respected for his intellect and for his comprehensive knowledge of fishery resources in those areas. His field work took him to many rural areas throughout Alaska. It would be difficult to name a place that he hadn't been to in Alaska, many of which he reached flying his private plane.

He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Martha Mann (whom he teasingly referred to as his "first wife"), who battled his disease by advocating on his behalf during his courageous fight; his devoted children, Catherine (Michael Donaldson) of Fairbanks, Molly (Ronald Grose) of Port Orchard, Wash., and David of Fairbanks; three affectionate grandchildren, Max and Ti Donaldson and Jacob Grose; loyal brothers Richard David of Singapore, and Michael Thomas, of Boulder, Colo. He also leaves his aunt, Edna Arvey Dickerson, of San Jacinto, Calif.; stepmother Josette Gourley Arvey, of Sedona, Ariz.; fond brothers- and sisters-in-law Charles C. and Elizabeth Clarke, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., Melvin and Suzanne Bitterman, of Glendale, Calif., and Philip and Virginia Mann of Pasadena, Calif.; and many caring nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews.

His maternal grandparents, Jane Roberts and William Avery Brodhead, and great-grandparents, Eliza Avery and William Henry Brodhead, were early residents of the Wood River Valley. His paternal grandparents, Bessie Tarkovsky and David Arvey, lived in Los Angeles.

As his cousin Earle often commented about Bill, he was one of the pioneers of the Arvey family. His "pioneering" was in response to his love of the outdoors. Everything from his choices in places to live, his career path, to the way he spent time with his family and friends was reflected by this spirit. His love of the outdoors was infectious to many family and friends alike, passing on this lifestyle to his children and grandchildren. He loved to spend time with his family at his cabin "downriver" on the Tanana River south of Fairbanks, even after he and Marty made their permanent residence in Hailey in 2001. He was a passionate supporter of many environmental causes and belonged to numerous conservation organizations. He kept an address list of members of Congress and state legislators at his fingertips at all times.

An avid cross-country skier, Bill would follow the results of local and national races until he was no longer able. He was always current on the achievements of Alaskan athletes and enjoyed volunteering at the ski events when he was living in Alaska year round. He also pursued his love for other sports and activities with his family, including fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, swimming, biking, playing tennis and golf. He had a wicked slice, but he was still pretty good. Birding was a favorite pastime throughout his life, as was playing chess.

During their 12 retirement years together, Bill and Marty traveled extensively in Hawaii, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Arizona, where they enjoyed their seasonal home in Green Valley.

Bill was dearly loved and will be sorely missed by his family and his many friends. As his cousin Julie said, "I miss ... our non-sequiturs and New York Times crossword rants. He was the smartest, funniest and most engaging cousin of all—and I will always remember him that way." Even up to his last days he was coming up with quips that would catch us all by surprise.

His family wishes to express sincere appreciation to all the people from Hospice of the Wood River Valley; Idaho Home Health and Hospice; Blaine County Senior Connection; Dr. Dan Fairman and staff, and several private caregivers for the expert, enduring care Bill received. Special gratitude goes to our friends and family for their generosity, love and support.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Hospice of the Wood River Valley, PO Box 4320, Ketchum, ID 83340, the Blaine County Senior Connection, PO Box 28, Hailey, ID 83333, the Western Watersheds Project, Box 1770, Hailey, ID 83333, and/or Sagebrush Equine Training Center, 100 Let'er Buck Road, Hailey, ID 83333.

A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008, at the Hailey Cemetery, followed by a social gathering at the Inn at Ellsworth Estate. Arrangements are under the care of the Wood River Chapel, in Hailey (

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