A revered Tlingit Elder died early this morning at his home in Juneau. Dr. Walter Soboleff was 102.
He was born in the village of Killisnoo near Wrangell on November 14, 1908.
Soboleff lived through a period of great change for Alaska Natives.
He earned a scholarship to go to college in Iowa, and when he finished his schooling he returned to Juneau in 1940.
Soboleff soon became a Presbyterian pastor, at a time when church services were segregated. But Soboleff convinced church leaders to open them up to everyone.
Sen. Al Kookesh, (D) Angoon, said he spoke to Soboleff last week and asked him if he thought about death.
“I preached about heaven all my life,” Soboleff told him, “so I don’t know why I’d be afraid to go there.”