Obituary – August 14

Caron Coons Davis, 61, beloved wife of Paul Davis, died peacefully on Friday, August 9, 2013, due to complications from a double lung transplant, surrounded by family and loved ones.
Caron was born April 10, 1952 and spent her childhood in Nome, AK, graduating from Nome High in 1969.  She attended college at UAA- Fairbanks.  She was a proud member of Operating Engineers Local 302, and instructed in the Union’s Crane Operator’s school. Her energy and work ethic made her

Caron Coons Davis

Caron Coons Davis

successful in a field dominated by men, but she considered that a challenge and was equal to the task. She married Paul Davis October 10, 1997 and they enjoyed amazing times together, with their shared love of Alaska and their steady devotion to one another and to their loved ones through thick and thin.  She retired in 2000 to care for her aging mother she made her own home in Homer.  In Homer she and Paul ran a charter business, The Blue Dawg Bed and Boat, named for their Siberian Husky.
Caron was known for her exuberance, determination, unquenchable energy and joy.  She embraced life and lived it fully.  She had a mischievous sense of humor and a cheerful spirit and will be remembered for her unique perspective and personality.  She kept her indomitable spirit through a difficult illness.  She loved the outdoors and captained her boat with skill and precision, taking friends and family out in search of halibut and salmon.
Friends knew Caron as their most loyal cheerleader and supporter.  Once she made a friend she kept them for life and her generosity was boundless.  She gave of her time, energy, knowledge, and gifts without thought of repayment and a guest never left her home without an amazing home cooked meal and most likely some smoked salmon, moose meat or clams that had been caught, processed, and preserved by Caron and Paul.  It was likely that the guest would also play pinochle and enjoy Caron’s enthusiastic tales of recent adventures after their meal was complete.  Caron’s interests were wide including sewing, beadwork, berry picking, hunting, mechanical problem solving and most of all helping others in need.  She loved to travel and most recently had a wonderful time in China.
Caron is survived by her husband, Paul Davis, daughter Sherry (Chris) Graves, two grandchildren; Wyatt and Trinity, of Charleston, WV, sisters; Bertie Gerdes, Greeley, CO, Darlyn Hill, Port Charlotte, FL, Kim Scarlett, Puyallup, WA, Lynn Merrick, Camas Valley, OR, and Bea Pierce , Lake Tapps, WA.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Ron and Caroline Coons, and sister Jean Merrick of Moses Lake, WA.
Services will be Homer United Methodist Church, 770 East End Road, Homer, at 2 p.m. Friday, August 16, 2013.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Life Alaska Donor Services, 235 East 8th Avenue, Suite 100, Anchorage, AK   99501.

Lonnie Truman Byars, a long-time Alaska communication systems pioneer who was instrumental in implementing analog, satellite, microwave, digital, and fiber optic systems in Alaska; died on June 28th at Providence Hospital in Anchorage after a lengthy illness beginning with a debilitating stroke he suffered in 2003. He was 67.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama on August 24, 1945, his mother Esther Louise McCrary Byars brought Lonnie to Alaska at age four. Lonnie spent his childhood in Platinum, Anchorage, Anchor Point, and Homer. He attended high school at Anchorage High and in Homer; graduating with a GED in 1963.
Lonnie joined the United States Air Force in September 1963. It was soon discovered he had a high aptitude for mathematics and the sciences. The Air Force ‘fast-tracked’ him though the University of Maryland instructed by some MIT/ Think Tank professors; graduating with a degree in electrical engineering. In addition to numerous other classes and trainings, Lonnie attended Cambridge while stationed in England. He was invited to join the MENSA Society.
Lonnie would joke that he served in the US Air Force for seven years, seven months, 29 days, ten hours and 14 minutes. While in the military, he worked on the Atlas and the Minute Man missiles; the land based intercontinental ballistic missiles system designed to deliver nuclear warheads during the Cold War. He was later sent to Vietnam where he served as an adviser, and a forward air control reconnaissance pilot. He was injured on several occasions. In November of 1965 he was shot down at the battle of Ia Drang sustaining back injuries when dropping out of the jungle canopy from his plane. It took him two days under the cover of darkness to crawl back to South Vietnamese held territory. He served two tours in Vietnam including a return stint for the TET Offensive.
Lonnie was a well decorated veteran including earning the rare missile badges.
In 1966, after his first Vietnam War tour, Lonnie was stationed in England at the White Cliffs of Dover. While there he earned his ICO (International Commercial License) . He bragged that he buzzed Big Ben for which he was reprimanded.
It was also in England where he met his first wife, Avril, and his daughter Shari was born. He lamented he was not present for her birth as he was on duty helping evacuate the Americans from Tripoli, Libya during Qaddafi’s takeover. He finished his military service while stationed at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida.
Following his departure from the military, Lonnie came home to Alaska where he had an extensive career in telecommunications throughout the state. Lonnie immediately went to work for ITT on the White Alice Communication System which linked the DEW Line (Distance Early Warning System) with Elmendorf and Eielson Air Force Bases. It also linked the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System with the North American Defense Command.
In 1974 he went to work for Paige Communications on the Alaskan Pipeline. Afterwards, Lonnie was employed by RCA and remained at the same job during the progression of different company mergers and buyouts. He thus worked for RCA/Alascom/PTI and AT&T, implementing direct distance dialing in Alaska, installing satellite earth stations in 122 Alaskan communities, along with microwave and digital systems. Alascom transferred Lonnie to Seward in 1990 to help bring online and operate the first underseas/land fiber optic cable linking Alaska to the lower 48.
In 1998, Lonnie went to work for GCI installing the second Alaskan fiber optic cable system (Alaska United). He was the sole technician in Seattle also. This cable brought significantly increased telecommunication capacity for the growing internet, video, voice, and data markets to Alaska.
Over the years, Lonnie worked on St. Paul Island, in King Salmon, Anchorage, and Seward. While living on St. Paul Island, his son Terrance was born. He apparently inherited his Father’s love of aviation as he works for ERA. In 1987 he met Catherine Malcolm in Anchorage. They later married and had a son, Matthew Cole, born in 1991.
Lonnie had many interests and acquired many skills during his life. Besides loving airplanes and flying and being an expert marksman, he enjoyed painting, reading, history, electronics, fishing, tinkering on cars and even macrame. He fondly remembered flying as an Iditarod pilot in 1984 at the urging of Jay Hammond. Lonnie did a short stint as a commuter Bush pilot. He was also a charter member of the Bristol Bay Elks Lodge. His passion, however, was rooted in economics and finances. He worried about the financial future of our country; primarily its effect on America’s children.
In his later years, Lonnie reflected on the pride he felt for being able to fly in Alaska and for his contributions in Alaskan communications.
The peace of his final days was cut short by the sudden death of his beloved 21 year old son Matthew Cole Byars in October of 2012, followed in close proximity by passing of his mother-in-law Frances Malcolm.
Lonnie Truman Byars is also preceded in death by his cherished mother Esther Louise McCrary Byars Dalberg, his father Lonnie Merrille Byars and stepfather Paul Dalberg.
Lonnie is survived by his wife, Catherine Malcolm-Byars of Seward; his son, Terrance Stepetin of Anchorage; daughter, Shari Giron of Fulton, CA; cousin, Roger McCrary of Florida; as well as brothers-in law Roger Malcolm and Troy Smith; sisters-in-law Karen Malcolm-Smith and Stacy Malcolm; niece, Jessie Malcolm; and nephews Dylan Fuhs and Luke Malcolm. His wry sense of humor, encyclopedic memory and visionary view of the world will be sorely missed.
In accordance with Lonnie’s wishes, a private service was held. It was officiated by his friend and former co-worker at Alascom Deacon Felix McGuire. Lonnie’s remains have been interred at Ft. Richardson. For details or condolences please contact Cathy at Box 1528, Seward, AK 99664
Please visit the following link to share to favorite memories of Lonnie for all to cherish and keep forever. You may visit Lonnie’s obituary and online guest book at

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Posted by on Aug 13th, 2013 and filed under Obituaries. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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