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Clem Tillion dies at 96

Clem Tillion
Alaska Legislature
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Clem Tillion

One of Alaska’s oldest and influential voices in fisheries and fiscal policy has died.

Clem Tillion was 96 years old. His death was announced on social media by former Governor Bill Walker.

Tillion served nearly two decades in the Alaska Legislature, including as Senate president, and he was first elected just three years after statehood.

Working with Governor Jay Hammond, he was a key figure in the Legislature’s creation of the Permanent Fund, and he was the only one of the Legislature’s 60 members to vote against repealing Alaska’s state income tax in 1980.

Tillion was also a commercial fisherman. And as recently as earlier this year, he was still placing calls to state officials to give them a piece of his mind on fisheries issues.

Tillion was born in New York and came to Alaska in 1947 after serving in the South Pacific during World War II. He ended up in Halibut Cove arriving after a very long hike.

A renowned storyteller, Tillion remained in good health into his 90s, and he was spotted at the Alaska Capitol as recently as a few years ago.

Tillion was still entertaining visitors at his Halibut Cove home at his 96th birthday this past summer, according to photos posted to social media.