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In Memory

Lyle Von Bargen

Lyle Von Bargen

Loving husband, father and devoted community member Lyle Von Bargen passed away April 6 at home with family by his side. Lyle was born on September 9, 1928 in Mazeppa, Minnesota, the fourth child of a farming family. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the Army and served in Germany at the end of WWII. His service was appreciated so much he was drafted shortly after his initial release and served in Korea from 1950 to 1951. He earned a Purple Heart in Korea for injuries sustained during the conflict. Following his recovery, Lyle and his younger brother Floyd accompanied their uncle Maynard to Alaska in 1952 to work for the summer. Lyle never left.

He began his professional career in Alaska as a bus and truck driver. He rose through the ranks at Union Oil, eventually becoming the Statewide Sales Manager. He and his wife Patricia met at work in 1968, and were married in 1970 lasting nearly 46 years. When the company wanted to transfer him to Los Angeles he politely declined and retired from Union Oil. Lyle went on to work for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company beginning in the early 70s. The majority of his career with APSC was in Corporate Affairs/Community Relations. He was transferred to Valdez in 1980 and his work there and within the communities along the Line earned him the title “Mr. Alyeska.” In addition to his work, Lyle was a tireless volunteer. He served as a board member and President of both the Valdez Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Valdez Chamber of Commerce. He was a founding member of Valdez United Way and the Valdez Rotary Club. He served on the Valdez Planning & Zoning Commission and Copper Valley Electric Association board, both for 15 years. He was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska, and an active member of Epiphany Lutheran Church. Lyle lived in a number of communities during his 64 years in Alaska including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna, Juneau, and finally Valdez for the past 36 years. Somewhere along the way he found time to manage a bowling alley in Soldotna and be a real estate agent in Anchorage.

Lyle’s favorite pastime was golfing. He enjoyed it so much when the first iteration of electronic golf came on the market in the early 80’s Lyle bought the franchise of Par-T-Golf for Alaska. He owned and operated Par-T here in Valdez located at both the airport and attached to the old Sugarloaf Saloon. With partners he also owned and operated Par-T-Golf in Anchorage.

His “bucket list” was to golf in all 50 states. He nearly made it with just a handful remaining.

Lyle was preceded in death by three of his four siblings, his sister Loa, and brothers Harold and Merlyn. He is survived by his loving wife Patricia and daughters Sarah and Lisa, all of Valdez; his younger brother Floyd of Farmington, MN; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Most notably in his retirement, Lyle walked around Valdez to stay active. In his memory, his daughters will be organizing an annual memorial event, “Walk a Mile with Lyle” as an effort each spring to encourage people to get out and walk. Stay tuned for dates this spring. There will be a Celebration of Life for Lyle on Monday, April 25th at 4:00pm at the Valdez Civic Center. The service will be followed by a pot luck meal. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Published by KVAK Radio, Valdez on April 11, 2016

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04/13/16 08:00 AM #1    

Bill Howitt

Wow, so many memories of Lyle.  What a great and talented guy.  As has been said, he was "Mr. Alyeska" both in Valdez and in all the pipeline communities.  I can even begin to estimate the number of times he helped me by giving advice and a good approach to a community issue or by explaining the politics involved.  He left a real legacy.

04/14/16 08:10 AM #2    

Wayne Fredeen

Lyle was truly an amazing personality.  When you first met him, he would make you feel like you had known each other forever and were trusted tested friends.  He always had a radiating smile on his face, a hand reached out for your handshake, and a positive thought shared for every person and every situation.  He was an adventureous entraprenier as well, going into business with his close friend Dennis in the video  car rides in shopping centers, into video golf, then into the giant waterpark investment in Anchorage.  I spent time with him answering the phones in Valdez during the early stages of the Exxon oilspill and appreciated his professionalism, sincereity, and direct honesty in all his dealings with everyone.  Lyle leaves positive thoughts in all the hearts and minds of not only fellow employees, but the communities he served so proudly.




04/14/16 09:11 AM #3    

Tom McCarty

When I was transitioning from my State of AK job to Alyeska Pipeline in Valdez, Lyle understood the somewhat awkward position I was in. From enforcement officer to company employee. It was his nature and personality to be able to lend encouragement and support when needed by a fellow employee. I called upon Lyle on several more occasions when I needed his read on a particularly sensitive issue or company position. Thank you Lyle for being there when I needed you. One of the nicest guys I knew in Valdez. Always took time to talk and to give support when you needed it. 

04/15/16 08:11 PM #4    

Bill Howitt

Lyle was showing me around Valdez in 1985 when I was moving there to be the Terminal Superintendent.  As we were driving around he inquired if I had bought a snowblower yet.  I said no and that I actually enjoyed shoveling snow.  Lyle, being a man of few words, let that pass until we stopped to visit Alaska Maritime.  At that point he turned to me and said, "Bill, you're going to be one happy son of a bitch".

04/17/16 11:10 AM #5    

Jule Magee

With Lyle it was always a delightful encounter.  On one hellacious, rip roaring, wintery, windy day in Valdez he stopped by SERVS and asked "Guess what happened to me today?" So I obliged and asked.  He said, "I walked outside and my hair got messed up." That was the last thing I expected him to say. Still laugh about that everytime I think of him.  He was one of the happiest people I have every had the pleasure of knowing.

04/18/16 08:41 AM #6    

Dave Norton

Lyle was a true gentleman and was always fun and engaging with me and the people I brought around to Valdez. He was very helpful on the Thompson Pass slackline vibration problems with the the Heidenview residents, as it was a touchy issue. I will miss him.

04/19/16 10:29 AM #7    

Keith Burke

I first met Lyle in the summer of 1975 when I was on temporary assignment in Valdez. Lyle was alway a warm and caring man with a quick wit and great smile. It was a true pleasure to know him for the 20 years at Alyeska. Heaven is a better place now that you are there. You will be missed.
Keith Burke

04/19/16 10:19 PM #8    

Mike Smulski

I never had the pleasure of working with Lyle directly, but I will say that I worked with and knew many wonderful people at the Valdez Marine Terminal, and it wa my great honor to have been associateed with that fine group. I'm not going to mention names for fear of leaving somebody out, but the VMT is remembered as a high point in my life.

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