Mr. Rees was born in Alaska on March 22, 1936, near the Bering Straight, and is part American Eskimo and Cherokee Indian. In his earlier years as a child, he would go with his father to deliver mail by boat from Ketchikan to Seward.
He was very familiar with the Iditarod, an intense race that is run every year from Anchorage to South Central Alaska to Nome on the western Bering Sea. The Iditarod has also been known as the “last great race on earth.” It was amazing to see each team, which consisted of the musher and 12 to 16 dogs, pulling sleds, so many sleds and dogs to go a grueling 1,150 miles in 10 to 17 days.
As he grew up, he became a commercial fisherman, which he loved so much. Mr. Rees traveled the world before settling down in Folkston, where he lived for almost 10 years, before moving to Jesup. He was a member of the Bering Straits Native Corporation, was a boxer and attended Camden Baptist Church in St. Marys.
Mr. Rees was preceded in death by his parents, Orland P. and Edna Merrill Rees, and two brothers, Tiny Rees and James Rees.
Survivors include his children, Faye Balch of Twenty Nine Palm, Calif., Tania Sanchez (Greg) of LaQuinta, Calif., Clinton Rees (Lauren) of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Dianne Alford (Michael) of Woodbine; two sisters, Edith Martin of Quincy, Wash., and Betty Ketah of Anchorage, Alaska; and 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Funeral services were held at 3 p.m. Monday, June 9, from Camden Baptist Church, with Pastor Edward Dixon officiating. Burial followed at Colesburg Cemetery in Woodbine. The family received friends at the church one hour prior to services.
Allison Memorial Chapel of St. Marys is in charge of arrangements.