Former State Rep. and Sen. Chancy Croft, who served as Senate president in the 1970s, has passed. His obituary ran in the Anchorage Daily News, along with an obituary for his wife, Toni, who had died several weeks earlier.
In 1968, six years after moving to the state, Chancy ran for the State House and won. He then won a seat in the Alaska Senate in 1972 and was elected president of the Senate in 1975. During that time, he was a proponent of the Alaska Permanent Fund, and he sponsored the Senate version of the bill that led to the fund’s establishment, along with Rep. Hugh Malone, co-chair of House Finance. Although Gov. Jay Hammond vetoed the original bill, the details for the Alaska Permanent Fund were eventually worked out.
Croft, a Democrat, ran for governor, but didn’t win in 1978. He had been paired with lieutenant gubernatorial nominee Katie Hurley and was in a three-way race with Hammond and former Gov. Wally Hickel. Hammond won the primary by 98 votes, and after an extensive court challenge that included Hickel launching a write-in campaign, Hammond won.
Croft retired from politics and became a successful workman’s compensation attorney. His son, His son, Eric Croft, who also served in the Legislature, worked alongside his father “and continue the commitment to get injured workers every cent they are entitled to under the law.”
Leland Chancy Croft was born in Jennings, La., the son of Leland Croft, an oil and gas landman and geologist, and Dorthy (née Chancy) Croft, who was a violin teacher. He grew up in Odessa, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with baccalaureate degrees in government and sociology, and a law degree.
He and his wife Toni moved to Alaska, where Croft became a charter member of the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, serving as chairman of its board from 1971 to 1978, when his career in politics took off.
Chancy served on the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 1995-2003, including one term as chair.