Keith Winton Specking

Keith Winton Specking, 90, of Medford, died Sept. 18, 2009 at his Eagle Point home.

Mr. Specking was born in Hanson, Ky. in July 1919 and spent his early years in St. Louis, Mo., working to support a large family after his father died.

He joined the Army in 1941 and was stationed in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was blown out of bed that morning when a bomb hit a nearby fuel depot. His first tour of duty was with the armored cavalry, a second tour saw him serve as a paratrooper. He was one of the first troops to enter Japan after its surrender.

Upon his honorable discharge in 1945, he and a close friend, Curt Young, bought a surplus Army truck and drove the muddy Alaska Highway to a new way of life. He worked part-time for the 57th Fighter Wing in Anchorage.

He met Vera Vaughan in 1949 and married her in July 1950. Together they started Rabbit Creek Inn south of Anchorage and later moved to the tiny village of Hope. For the next 40 years they acted as big game guides . A master guide, they established their base camp for Alaskan Adventures in 1958 on the Brushkana River east of Cantwell.  They guided big game clients from around the world.

While running the guiding business, he was elected to the Alaska state legislature in 1970, representing the Kenai Peninsula. During his second term the governor asked him to be his legislative assistant, a position he held working side-by-side to the governor for 12 years. He assisted the governor in numerous fish and hunting policies as well as establishing the Alaska Permanent Fund which returns to residents a portion of oil-revenue taxes.

The pair wintered in Oregon beginning in the late 1980s and eventually purchased 160 acres under Chimney Rock, near Eagle Point. They wintered there, returning to Alaska for the spring and summer.

In later years, Mr. Specking took up oil painting under the tutelage of Bob Grogan, of Sun Valley.

Mr. Specking is survived by his wife, Vera, of Eagle Point; son, Glenn (Ramona), daughter, Danielle (Michael) Anchorage; Joan (Edwin) Bender, Helena, Mont.; three sisters, Sue Young, Murphys, Calif., Patty Lou (Martin) MacDonagh, Lewiston, Idaho and Connie (Art) Reno, San Mateo, Calif.  He was preceded in death by his brother, Glenn.

A military service was held Sept. 25, at the Eagle Point National Cemetery. Arrangements by handled by Conger-Morris.

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