Friends, relatives rally around family that suffered 3 tragedies in one week
And like many others, including Sandy who called her husband “gregarious,” Fisher said, “He always had time for people.”
Isaac’s sister, Adeline said, “He’s the type of guy who wouldn’t walk by you and say ‘Hi,’; he’d stop and shake your hand and talk to you, joke around and make you laugh.”
Longtime friend Spud Williams, former TCC president, said his friend was a jokester and a prankster who loved to laugh and have fun.
He praised Isaac’s strength for winning a two-decade war against alcoholism earlier in his life.
“That takes a lot of gumption,” Williams said.
Adeline said, Isaac always gave God credit for his longtime sobriety. “He told everybody that God took it away, and he called it ‘God’s grace.’”
Adeline recalls growing up with her big brothers Isaac and Charlie and sister Sarah and living in the Cold Creek and Woodchopper mining camps where their father was a catskinner working for Dr. Ernest Patty, a University of Alaska president.
Isaac would always keep an eye out for the younger ones. “He took care of us and made sure we were okay when my mother was busy doing something,” she said.
Eagle Village chief for many years, Isaac held various jobs over his lifetime from wildland firefighter, Native corporations, Alyeska and BLM.
Williams called his longtime friend “very talented.”
“His heart was with the village of Eagle. After the Land Claims was passed, he wrote the necessary paperwork and Eagle Village became the first IRA village, with a federally recognized government,” Williams said, adding that Isaac became one of the first Alaska Natives to work for the Park Service.
Isaac’s niece, Jody Potts, recalled her uncle’s charisma, and the final few days of his life she and others joined with him while keeping vigil at her Aunt Ellen’s hospital bedside.
“He had the ability to connect with people and make them feel valued and feel good about themselves,” she said. “That was how he helped with this tragedy with my aunt. He had this great sense of humor. It was always appropriate and brought comfort.
“I really enjoyed sitting with him. It was really cool listening to him talk about traditional knowledge and how he grew up,” she said.
Throughout his lifetime, Isaac enjoyed the outdoors and subsistence activities — hunting and fishing.
“He kept us in salmon and moose meat and caribou meat,” Sandy said, “And he carved beautiful diamond willow walking sticks and canes. One of the last ones he gave to a disabled veteran who wanted to pay for it, but he gave it to him;
“He will be sorely missed not just by me, but the people here. He was really an advocate; He was always the first to lend a hand.”
Over the years, TCC President Jerry Isaac has worked on a variety of boards with Isaac.
“I’ve always know him to be concerned and very straight forward — a straight shot — concerned about the tradition and the culture,” he said.