By Heather Lende and Kate Arduser
Friends, family, and the community of Cordova celebrated the life of Alex Arduser on April 29, with a church service followed by a larger gathering in the school gym. Alex drowned while bird hunting on Egg Island, outside of Cordova, on April 25, 2023. He was 44 years old and had just recently retired from 20 years as an Alaska Wildlife Trooper. Alex was revered by the people he served for his expertise and fairness, and perhaps most importantly, for his willingness to show compassion. The service and reception afterward gave nod to the 41 ducks he had harvested before he died.
Alex was calm, capable, loyal, kind, and hardworking. He had a great sense of humor and was a “really good” listener. He was always prepared and practical, even donning Xtratufs to keep his feet dry when his wife went into labor.
To his wife Kate and their young daughters, Anja and Anika, life with Alex was magic. They are grateful that his last weeks were filled with a lovely family commercial shrimping trip in Prince William Sound and a visit with his parents in Anchorage.
Alex loved waking early to patrol the Copper River Flats by Super Cub. He noted a specific angle of the sun’s return in February as signal to prepare for the annual fishing and hunting seasons. He fished as often as he could, and hunted moose, caribou, deer, goat, black bear, brown bear, musk ox, sea otter, ducks, and grouse. He also trapped wolverine, martin, beaver, and fox. He most enjoyed sheep and bird hunting. Kate was his regular partner in adventure, as for many years was Gus, a German Wirehair who died in 2021. One year-old Yoda, also a Wirehair, was there with him on his final hunt and stayed close until searchers found him.
Alex was a devoted friend, son, husband, and father and directed a lot of his energy toward caring for those he loved. With the newfound freedom of retirement, he spent most mornings with Kate, walking their daughters to school and then working on his many projects.
Alex was born in Anchorage to fisherman and teachers Randy and Sonja Arduser. He began commercial fishing on the Sonja Annin Bristol Bay when he was 13. Alex was scheduled to go back to the Bay and crew for his dad this summer.
He played football and wrestled at Service High School and played rugby for four years at the University of Idaho, graduating with a B.S. in wildlife resources. He was known as a man of action and few words.
Kate’s brother introduced them over the phone. Kate recalls that he talked a lot. He later told her that he knew he’d marry her the minute he hung up the phone, because she was the first girl he could speak to. They were married at Majestic Valley Lodge and hiked Sheep Mountain the morning of the wedding.
He served in the field his entire trooper career, with posts in Soldotna, Aniak, Cordova, and Dutch Harbor. He admired successful outdoorspeople and valued well-managed resources. He was a vessel operator and a department pilot known for his ability to de-escalate any situation. He received Commendations for Bravery, Meritorious Service, and Honorable Service from the director of the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. He also received the American Red Cross of Alaska’s Real Heroes Award in 2022 for Marine Rescue.
After his passing, it was discovered that Alex had an enlarged heart that contributed to his sudden death. Metaphorically speaking though, his family always knew he had a huge heart! He is a lot to let go of and is greatly missed, however, the ferocity and strength of his love remains. His subtle smile and memories of the joy he shared on earth, live on.
In addition to Kate, Anja, and Anika in Cordova, and Randy and Sonja in Anchorage, Alex leaves Auntie Sandra Seversen; Uncle Dustin Arduser; parents in-law Roger and Ann Pearson; brother in-law Bill and Becky Pearson; nephews Sam, David and Daniel Pearson, and many extended family members and friends, all who will miss him dearly.
Memorial donations for Alex’s daughters may be made to Kate Arduser PO Box 1176 Cordova, AK 99574, or to the Cordova Covered Spaces Project https://visitcordovaalaska.org/cordovacoveredoutdoorspacesproject.html.