By TIM BARTO
Funeral services were held for Art Chance on Oct. 25 for a collection of family, friends, and admirers. It included some great stories and even a violin solo by one of his neighbors.
I didn’t know Art well, but I enjoyed reading his columns in Must Read Alaska. He didn’t mince words; just the opposite, actually. Art called it how he saw it, and he called people how he saw them, even – especially – when those people were in positions of power and influence.
Tyler Andrews, Art’s friend for over 28 years, gave a great eulogy full of stories and humor that touched on the many facets of Art’s life.
Art was asked by Suzanne Downing to write theater reviews, a rather niche market. It didn’t contain him for very long though, as he ventured into commentary on all matter of topics, many dealing with labor issues, union tyranny, and government incompetency, but it was rather symbolic of the wide range of interests and talents Art possessed.
In addition to being a theater buff, Art was a Civil War historian, which the Georgia native often referred to by other names, the politest of which, according to Tyler, was “The War Between The States.” Evidently, once he got to talking details of “The War of Northern Aggression” (a term I learned from another native Georgian), it was impossible to get Art to stop, such was his knowledge and passion about the topic.
But Civil War knowledge was just a hobby. To earn money, Art’s job titles included leather clothing business owner, truck driver, general contractor, clothing salesman, janitor, farmer, union foreman, writer, policy advisor, and Director of Labor Relations.
In his spare time, he raised a family, grew roses, built models, played clarinet in a marching band and symphony, and prepared extraordinary dinners accompanied by copious bottles of wine. When Art first moved to Alaska, he and his young family lived in a trailer park in Muldoon.
What a fascinating guy.
He even liked baseball, making mention of the game and his hometown Atlanta Braves in his Must Read Alaska columns, and it was because of the game that I got to know him a little bit. Following one of my baseball-related columns, I received a note from Art, stating how much he liked it and suggesting I write some more on the topic. Receiving a comment like that from a writer like Art Chance was quite a compliment.
Art Chance epitomized the Alaska experience. He lived a full life — not a perfect one by any means, but a full one. There was mutual hatred between him and the Left. He was smart, fearless, opinionated, loving, irascible, and fun.
Tim Barto is Vice President of Alaska Family council. He is also proud to hold the title of Senior Contributor to Must Read Alaska, because the first person to earn that title was Art Chance.