Greg O’Claray, once commissioner of Dept. of Labor, passes

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Gregory Samuel O’Claray, well-known union boss from the Pipeline era in Alaska, died March 13, 2022. O’Claray was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping. He was the commissioner of the Department of Labor under Murkowski.

O’Claray was born in Portland, OR to George O’Claray and Susan (O’Claray) Chicano and was the second of five children (Dan, Greg, Jennie, Joe, and George).

He moved to Juneau in 1950 where he lived most of his life, until he retired in Warrenton, Ore. He graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1960 and married Mary (Micki) Strohmeyer in 1961; they had five daughters together. They were married until 1992.

O’Claray’s started out as a Professional Mariner for government and commercial vessels and Alaska Ferries. He held leadership positions with Alaska Region Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, Seafarers’ International Union of North America, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, and as the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

O’Claray also was a lobbyist (GSO Associates/Shedoni Group), fished commercially for salmon, and owned an aluminum recycling business in Juneau.

O’Claray leaves behind his significant other, Judith Jordan, daughters Lisa Hall (husband Brad, son Broc), Dina Guest (children Alisyn and Samuel), C.J. O’Claray, Kami Myles (husband Rob, daughters Kristina, Kayla, and Kodi), Heather O’Claray, Megan March (husband Bryan, daughter Nyah), brothers Dan O’Claray (wife Geri, daughters Kathryn, Karen, and Sheryl), Joe Chicano (wife Connie, sons Alex, Rob, and Jason), nephews Joey Shay and Luke Kilgore, cats Koby and Kiki, and pup Tinkerbell.

Instead of flowers, the family requests donations in his honor to Wet Noses Foster Paws in Tacoma, Wash. or Clatsop County Animal Shelter in Warrenton, Ore. A private service was held.

Photo: Department of Labor, 2004, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Greg O’Claray (left) met in Juneau with Director Gale Sinnott, head of the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. Roy Grizzard, Jr. The doctor was appointed by President George W. Bush to lead federal efforts to increase employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities. 

5 COMMENTS

  1. O’Claray was a wonderful fellow, a great colleague. The homophones incite and insight come to mind, and Greg would have had a funny (and politically incorrect) comment about the word homophone. He was on my winter league trap team, usually holding his own with his Browning A5 against specialized trap guns, under the lights in the dark of winter. As a SOA cabinet official he was anything but a glandeur.

  2. Thanks for recognizing his passing, MRA. Dad dedicated his life to Alaskans and his passion rang true in all he did.

  3. I met Greg O’Claray while he was Commissioner of Labor. Didn’t know much about him, but I consider him a solid guy. Sorry to hear of his passing. Condolences to his family. RIP

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