Kenny Sailors and his wife, Marilynne, sold the Heart 6 ranch in Wyoming and moved to Alaska in the summer of 1965. They drove the Alaska Highway and pulled a trailer with all the belongings they could fit in. They had no particular destination. Kenny’s only objective was to re-start his guiding and outfitting business somewhere in America’s new 49th state. Moving to Alaska was something the Sailors had dreamed of since they were married in 1943
They made their first stop in Alaska at a trailer park near the small town of Glennallen, (189 miles NE of Anchorage) to temporarily deal with a health problem Marilynne was having. Little did the Sailors realize this locale would be their permanent home for the next 34 years. They soon arranged to acquire some land under the homesteading laws and built a log home near Gakona and eventually a hunting lodge, too, the latter of which is now occupied by the Sailors’ granddaughter, her husband, and their family
Kenny soon established a successful guiding and outfitting business which lasted until 1999 when they returned to Wyoming. What Kenny didn’t anticipate when they arrived in Alaska was that his basketball resume would very soon catch up with him
In the fall of 1965 Kenny was invited to start a girls basketball team at Glennallen High School. As a result, coaching high school basketball became another activity for which Kenny later became renowned in Alaska – at Glennallen High and later at Angoon High (the latter down the peninsula near Juneau). He had enormous success as a coach – especially with his girls teams
In addition, through the Glennallen American Legion post Kenny helped inaugurate Boys’ State in Alaska – an activity for which he had been well-known in Wyoming. This happened in 1966 – just a year after he arrived
Never seeming to have enough to do Kenny also helped build the Alaska pipeline when it was underway in the late 1960s and early 1970s
In this category we’ll show many examples of the Sailors’ life in Alaska which encompassed over half of their 59 years of marriage. More stories will be added as we discover them.