Joseph David (Dave) Lanni was born June 5, 1930, in Corry, Pennsylvania.
Dave joined the Air Force shortly out of high school and began his true-life adventure when he came to Alaska in 1951 as a military police officer at Eielson Air Force Base. It was soon after that Dave acquired his private pilots license and left the Air Force to start work for the Territory of Alaska as deputy U.S. Marshal. Next was another dream of having his own airplane, which he leased to the government and became the youngest flying deputy marshal in the territory, patrolling Yukon River settlements and Fairbanks.
He met his love and life partner, Jacqueline May Kendrick, in Fairbanks. They were married in 1955, and she joined the adventure.
Dave became a Fish and Wildlife warden patrolling the Valdez Trail from Fairbanks to Nebesna/Chisana country. Along the way during that time he became friends with several Alaska legends, among them, Slim Moore, who owned Summit Lake Lodge. It was not long before Dave wrote a letter to Slim with a proposal for buying the lodge and guiding business. To his great surprise, Slim showed up in person to accept the proposal.
So upon leaving his government job, he and Jackie, along with two children, two dogs, a turtle and his airplane, moved to Summit Lake in 1962. There they began to build a lifelong dream, a true Alaska lodge and guided fishing and hunting business, where Dave became a well-known Bush pilot and master guide, adding two more sons in time. After the 1964 earthquake, damage done to the old roadhouse resulted in a fire, which left the family with not much but ashes. The real building of the log lodge began.
Through the years the family built a place that is remembered by so many, especially the Lanni kids, who are still tied to that special place, where they learned a hunting and trapping subsistence lifestyle. The pipeline came and went, and Dave and Jackie were able to do some world travel which resulted in an amazing collection of big game trophies from Africa, Mongolia and Russia. Life took the kids in many directions, but the family has stayed close together as we were raised as a strong family unit.
On March 26, 2022, Dave passed away peacefully and joined his wife, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We were also blessed to have a long-time family friend, second mother and a very fine and gentle soul, Mrs. Pat Johnson, with us for comfort as Dad began his journey to his next great adventure.
The family wishes to express our deepest thanks for the care and compassion given to our family by the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital staff of the South Tower during this difficult time.
Published by Daily News-Miner on Apr. 13, 2022.
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