JUNEAU – Former State Sen. Albert Matthew Kookesh, Jr. has passed after a long illness.
Born in Nov. 24, 1948 in Juneau, he attended Angoon Grade School and Mount Edgecumbe High School, completing college at Alaska Methodist University and the University of Washington, where he earned his law degree.
Kookesh was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives from 1997 through 2005, and to the Senate from 2005 through 2013. In 2012, he lost to Sen. Bert Stedman.
He was a commercial fisherman, lodge and market owner and operator, and worked as a special assistant for Rural Affairs in the Tony Knowles Administration and later the Bill Walker Administration.
He was married to Sally Woods Kookesh and was the father of Elaine, Jacleen. Reanna, Albert, and Walter.
Active in the Alaska Democratic Party for most of his adult life, he also served on the Board of Directors of Sealaska Corporation, and served as board chairman from 2000 to 2014. Kookesh was a member of the Haa Aaní, LLC Board of Managers, a member and former chair of the Elders’ Settlement Trust, served as a Trustee of the Sealaska Heritage Institute Board of Trustees, and served as Sealaska’s representative to the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Kookesh was also active in Native politics, as the former Alaska Federation of Natives chair, and former Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp president, as well as a director of the First Alaskans Institute.
In the business world, he was business manager and acting president and CEO of Kootznoowoo Inc. between 1976-1992 and was the owner and operator of Kootznahoo Inlet Lodge.
His Tlingit name was Kaasháan. He was Tlingit/Eagle, Teikweidí (Brown Bear clan), child of L’eeneidí yádi clan. The family said that memorial arrangements are being made and will be announced at a later date.