Art Wallace

Arthur Wallace was born on July 11, 1930 and passed away on Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

Art was a resident of Chugiak, Alaska.

Fuji Farewell in 2012
Landmark Chugiak gift shop prepares to sell off decades of treasure. Alaska Star Article

Art Wallace relaxes on the porch of

Fuji Gifts a few summers ago. He has

handed over the longtime business,

including his trademark windsocks, to

his niece.

After getting out of the Marines when World War II ended, the then 23-year-old Wallace brought his Jeep to Alaska from New York, transporting a handmade cement block mold, his toolbox, a banjo and his 19-year-old brother, Mike. We landed at Mile 18.5 of the Old Glenn, he said.

Art Wallace and his buddy, Ward Benedict, used the block mold to help build the Moose Horn foundation in the mid-50s with concrete blocks handmade from local river mud.

Arthur F. Wallace

July 11, 1930-June 30, 2010


Chugiak resident Arthur F. Wallace, 79, died June 30, 2010, at Providence Extended Care Center in Anchorage.

Art was born July 11, 1930, in Rochester, N.Y. He was a very industrious lad. He raised 3,000 chickens and started a bait business with his younger brothers while still in school. After graduating from Ontario High School, he attended Cornell University, earning a degree in animal husbandry. He then volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps.

In 1954, after serving honorably in the Marines, he journeyed to the Alaska Territory over the ALCAN Highway with younger brother Mike. They both worked in the gold fields near Fairbanks for the USSRM Company, thawing the ground for a giant gold dredge.

In 1954, Art came to Chugiak. He worked on the Eklutna Tunnel project. The next summer, Art and brother Til started making concrete blocks for their new company, Wallace Economy Concrete Products. They supplied concrete products for many early local settlers. They hand-made all the blocks at the company headquarters. For several years, they worked together.

In 1964, Art converted the block building into Fuji Gifts, which ultimately became a most unusual gift shop.

Art enjoyed several Alaska pastimes. He loved catching clams, crabs and shrimp from his wooden boat in Kachemak Bay. He went with his brothers and close Marine friend Greg Weaver.

Both Art and Greg were 30-year veterans of the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department. Both men served as fire chief for many years.

Art was a great animal lover and took in many stray dogs. Outwardly, Art appeared gruff and boisterous, but those who knew him knew they had a friend for life who would give them the shirt off his back. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends.

Art was preceded in death by his parents, Francis T. and Jeanette F. Wallace, longtime residents of Chugiak.

He is survived by three brothers, Thillman, Michael and James; sister-in-law, Ella; one niece and one nephew; and one grand-niece and two grand-nephews.

He will be cremated and his ashes will be spread over the fields of fireweed, befitting a fireman's place of rest.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 14, 2010.