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John Karl Hoegberg

1963 - 2015

02/16/15
From the Fairbanks News-Miner

John Karl Hoegberg, born July 6, 1963, was mushing with a dozen of his best canine friends last week but out there on the trail, something went wrong and only the dogs came home. This tragedy has broken many hearts, leaving gaps previously filled with John's easy smile, amazing range of abilities and sheer brilliance.

The star that burns only half as long burns twice as bright and this was John. Beyond merely residing in Alaska, he truly lived here, boldly pushing himself past where few even dare to imagine.

John's adventure started in New Jersey but the family moved to England before he was a year old. During the next decade his early adventures included seeing most of Europe including at age 7, insisting on walking all the way down from the top of the Eiffel tower.
Back in America it soon became clear he heard the call of the wild and in 1984 he came to UAF where he earned an engineering degree, but his real major was "Renaissance Alaskan."

John could cook, wrangle horses, sew tack or a tent, dance, play guitar, work a sled dog team, charm all women, befriend all men, build houses, rebuild engines, operate yellow iron, hold forth on philosophy, poetry, physics - you name it, he could do it or figure out how to do it.

Just one category of his creative genius is seen in the numerous post and beam structures that grace Fairbanks. Likely as not, he felled the trees, hauled them with his draft horses, milled and carved them, then hefted and assembled them into habitable works of art.

John loved to share his passion for Alaska, and as an expert outdoorsman, lead visitors from all over the world on week long expeditions into the Bush. Whether by dog teams in the winter or saddle horses in the summer, John ensured his guests had the authentic experience of a lifetime.

Tall like Denali, strong like moose and blazing through life on his own terms, John was like Polaris on our humble state flag; an Alaskan's Alaskan showing true north for those seeking a life in the "Greatland."

John is survived by his sister, Nina; niece Sarah, of Texas; brother Rick and his wife, DeeDee, of Fairbanks; numerous relatives in America, Serbia and Norway plus countless friends in Alaska and Outside.

Whether by sled dog, horse, canoe, snowshoe, old pickup or futuristic Citroen, John was always on the move, living life as large as Alaska, and we wish him good fortune on his next adventure.

To help send him on his way, a memorial potluck will start at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Musher's Hall on Farmer's Loop. Anyone who cared about John - and we expect there will be many - is invited to bring food, drink and stories to share.

Condolences can be sent here

Published in Daily News-Miner on Feb. 14, 2015


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