Gunnar E. Kaasen

Gunnar E. Kaasen

Birth
Burfjord, Kvænangen kommune, Troms fylke, Norway
Death 27 Nov 1960 (aged 78)
Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, USA
Burial Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 53361489 · View Source
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Gunnar Kaasen was the last musher in the race to bring lifesaving diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska, arriving on February 2, 1925. He was famed for running two legs of the journey through sub-zero temperatures when his replacement wasn't awake when he arrived in Port Safety. His lead dog, Balto, too, was celebrated as a hero. Kaasen came to the United States to mine for gold in 1903, and settled in Nome, where he became an experienced musher. When diphtheria hit the town and the lone doctor's supply of serum was found to be expired, Kaasen was one of twenty mushers who worked to transport 300,000 units of serum to Nome from Nenana, Alaska. The mushers and the combined teams of over one hundred dogs experienced subzero temperatures, severe winds and whiteout conditions. A number of dogs froze to death during their leg of the journey. After the serum run, Kaasen and his lead dog, Balto, were dogged by publicity, glorified as though they had made the entire journey themselves, even though there were nineteen other mushers who were part of the chain, one of whom made a longer run than Kaasen and his team. He and Balto even starred briefly in a movie about Balto. He was accused of being a publicity hog, but he had his defenders as well. Kaasen and his wife Anna moved to Everett, WA, in 1952, where he died of cancer at the age of 78.



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  • Created by: Jo Frey
  • Added: 6 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 53361489
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gunnar E. Kaasen (11 Mar 1882–27 Nov 1960), Find A Grave Memorial no. 53361489, citing Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Everett, Snohomish County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Jo Frey (contributor 46843198) .