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Joe Vogler

A miner, land developer and founder of the Alaska Independence Party, was 80 years old when he disappeared in 1993.  After 16 months of investigation, his body was unearthed from a shallow grave near Fairbanks on Oct. 12, 1994.  A Fairbanks man was indicted in December for his murder. 

Born in a sod dugout on the plains of Kansas, Vogler was 28 when he arrived in Alaska in 1942.  Although armed with a law degree from the University of Kansas, he worked construction on the military bases, first at Kodiak, later in interior Alaska.  He worked hard, and his estate includes extensive real estate holdings around Fairbanks and mining claims in other parts of the Interior. 

Vogler was an outspoken critic of government and advocated Alaska's secession from the Union.  He made war on his neighbors, local government and the state, sometimes appearing in court as his own lawyer.  He saved his most spectacular verbal volleys for federal officials, especially those of the Park Service who imposed control on his mining and land development activities. 

When his admirers looked at him, they saw John Wayne on a D-8 Cat-a no-nonsense, stand-up guy with the guts to take on the feds 24 hours a day.  He was not a Bircher or even a conservative.  Sometimes-when he called for local hire, job training and better house-he even sounded like a socialist.  He also was unusually tolerant of the difficulties young people face. 

Vogler made three unsuccessful bids for governor under the Alaskan Independence banner.  His last appearance on Alaska's political stage was in 1990, when he lent the Alaska Independence Party to former Gov. Wally Hickel so Hickel would have a spot on the general election ballot. 

At his request, Vogler will be buried in Canada, beyond reach of Washington bureaucrats. 

Source:  Anchorage Daily News 




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