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Urban Rahoi, WW2 Vet, pilot and long-time Fairbanksian dies at 102

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 5:44 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Urban Rahoi died Thursday at age 102. The long-time Fairbanks resident, pilot, hunting guide and WW2 veteran was living at the Pioneer home. Craig Compeau has known Urban for years.

If you ask Compeau if he was friends with Urban Rahoi, “I’d say that would be the understatement of the year. Yeah, Urban and I were real close friends we had a pretty good bond, I loved the guy. Met him when I was a teenager here working at the shop.”

Urban was born on January 7th, 1919 and grew up on a farm in Michigan. Compeau thinks that is where he learned his work ethic. Compeau also said that he loved to fly.

“He flew his first solo flight at 15-years-old,” Compeau said. “A couple years before he died he was the oldest living active pilot, I confirmed that with the Guinness Book people.”

During WW2 Rahoi five missions in Africa and Europe and helped train bomber pilots. Compeau said that even when he was overseas, he still voted in every election from the time he was old enough.

After the war Urban made his way to Fairbanks where he continued flying as well as becoming a hunting guide and starting some businesses.

Compeau said his mindset was different, “Urban always said there were two words that weren’t in his vocabulary and that is, ‘can’t’ and ‘impossible.’ He did things that people would dream about doing that he just did them because they needed to get done.”

Urban turned 102 this year but because of the pandemic he wasn’t able to celebrate the traditional way.

“We wanted to surprise Urban so he couldn’t get out of the Pioneer Home so we had it set up as a surprise. We went to the big window, there was several dozen of us holding signs, they wheeled Urban up and we had a big cake and wished him happy birthday.”

Compeau said, “He just was a true Alaskan, a true American, a hero.” Urban will be missed.

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