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In Memory

Wilma Diedra Knox

Wilma Knox

Wilma (Didra) Knox was born in 1920 and was raised on her parents’ homestead in eastern Washington. She and her husband, Robert moved to Alaska in 1951 where they both worked as a journalists and photographers. Wilma wrote for newspapers including the Anchorage Times and was an Alaska stringer for the Christian Science Monitor. Her article, written for the Associated Press about the after effects of the 1964 earthquake was featured in newspapers across the nation. She also wrote articles for various magazines. With Bob and her sister, Bette, she co-wrote two travel books.

In March of 1975 at the age of 55, Wilma started work as a security guard for NANA Regional Corporation.  The job on the line gave her the opportunity to build up savings for retirement, but more than that, she saw it as a challenge for a woman to secure a job on the giant wilderness construction project.  Women had never before had such a chance.

Wilma chose to work the Arctic section of the line and stuck with her job all through the construction years.  At one time or another, she worked in every camp north of the Yukon River.  Wilma also returned to work when the pipeline started producing. 

From the beginning, Wilma wanted to write about this amazing experience and kept detailed journals.  In her retirement years, she collected all of her journals and letters and started writing a book about her years “on the job.”  But before she completed the final manuscript at the age of 90, she suffered a series of small strokes and lost her memory.  Wilma died in June of 2015. 

After her death, Robert completed the manuscript and published it in a limited edition.  "Four Years Below Zero" is a very personal account written from a woman’s perspective. 

It describes the long hours, boring duty, emotional isolation, bitter cold and having to deal with drunks, druggers and grizzly bears.  The book is available in many libraries across Alaska. 

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08/14/17 07:10 AM #1    

Larry Motschenbacher

Four Years Below Zero book coverBelow I am sharing a note and generous offer from Wilma's husband, Robert Knox.  Larry Motschenbacher

Free book offer for pipeline construction workers

In 1975, Wilma Knox - then a middle-aged Anchorage journalist and housewife - signed on with NANA as a security guard patrolling the constructin camps in the Arctic section of the pipeline.

Writing a book about her work on the line was a project Wilma had reserved for her retirement years.  Unfortunately, she was unable to complete the manuscript due to illness, and she died in 2015.  Wilma's husband, Robert completed her book the following year and distributed it to libraries across Alaska.  The remaining copies are not to be offered for sale but are earmarked to be given to Wilma's fellow pipeline workers free of charge.

To receive a copy of the book, send your name and mailing address to: fouryearsbelowzero@yahoo.com, or write to Robert Knox, P.O. Box 1638, Deming, NM, 88031.  The only thing Robert asks in exchange is a short summary of your work on the pipeline, the company you worked for, the type of work you did and the name of th ecamp or camps where you worked.  The offer of a free hard copy book is good as long as supplies last.

For non-pipeliners, a text-only version is available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99.  (You do not have to own a Kindle reader to read the book. An application can be downloaded so you can read Kindle books on your laptop or other device.)

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