Barry H. Aasmundstad, 07-10-04

ADN 07-14-04


Man dies during rafting trip when he attempts to swim to shore

An Anchorage man died Saturday evening after he jumped into Benka Lake south of Talkeetna, Alaska State Troopers said.

Barry H. Aasmundstad, 51, his wife, Vicki, 49, and two friends were floating on a multiperson inflatable doughnut raft on the lake about 100 yards from shore, troopers said. The group decided to go back to a cabin, and Aasmundstad jumped into the water to swim back.

He was swimming without trouble, but then suddenly stopped, troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. One of the friends, 38-year-old James Christy, of Anchorage, noticed something wrong and jumped into the water, troopers said. He pulled Aasmundstad to shore and gave him CPR until medical personnel arrived 15 or 20 minutes later, they said. The medics could not revive Aasmundstad.

The state medical examiner's office does not plan to do an autopsy because there is no indication of criminal activity in the incident, Wilkinson said.


Anchorage Daily News


Barry Aasmundstad, 50

Longtime Alaskan Barry H. Aasmundstad, 50, died July 10, 2004, near Talkeetna.

A service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Chapel by the Sea, 14730 Turnagain Bluff Way.

Mr. Aasmundstad was born Oct. 3, 1953, at Turtle Lake, N.D., to Harold and Rosella (Anderson) Aasmundstad.

At an early age, his family moved to Valley City, N.D., where he grew up and graduated from high school.

Mr. Aasmundstad attended The North Dakota School of Forestry at Bottineau. He first fell in love with Alaska during a short stay in 1975. He returned to North Dakota where he became a certified A&P mechanic at Dakota Aero Tech. in Fargo.

His family wrote: "Barry and his new bride, Vicki, the greatest love of his life, returned to Anchorage in 1977. Upon returning, Barry was employed as an aircraft mechanic, pilot and guide for Pete and Kay Knudsen at Alaska Aircraft Repair, Rainy Pass Lodge, Kokhanok Lodge and Hayes River Lodge. In 1989, Barry and his good friend Mark Collins started their own guide and fly-in service, Jungles, Deserts, and Mountains of Anchorage and Yakutat. In the fall, Barry enjoyed flying on the Alaska Peninsula and in the Alaska Range for Dennis and Mildred Branham at Branham Adventures.

"Barry was part owner of AA Pizza Corner Frozen Pizza of Alaska.

"Barry was an accomplished, dedicated, and respected mechanic, pilot and guide to the people he worked for or with. Barry died at his most favorite place, doing what he embraced most in life, spending time with Vicki and their friends at their cabin on Secluded Lake. As his friends, employers and co-workers all know, Barry was a remarkable, tolerant individual who left an unforgettable imprint on all the lives and hearts that he touched."

Mr. Aasmundstad is survived by his wife, Vicki, and their two companions, Tok and Maggie; siblings and spouses, Greg and Vicki of Minot, N.D., Dan and Tana of Anchorage, and Corrine and Jim McLean of Arizona; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations in Mr. Aasmundstad's name are suggested to the charity of the donor's choice.

Arrangements are with Anchorage Funeral Home and Crematory.