YUKON MEN Stan Zuray’s bio comes alive with vivid early years throwbacks

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Yukon Men star Stan Zuray’s bio is as varied and interesting as the land he’s called home for over four decades. While Discovery often likes to play up what it refers to as Stan Zuray’s troubled past, the man’s age (he’s 67 years old this year), calm demeanor, and willingness to share stories from his earliest days belie the Wolverine-esque impression that first-time viewers of Yukon Men often have before watching.

In fact, Carry On, Stan Zuray’s first book, is a succinct and detailed memoir of his entire life, beginning in the Boston neighborhoods of his boyhood and ending a lifetime later in Tanana. In between, readers are treated to tales of life at a New Hampshire hippie commune, all around California, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest, before arriving in Alaska in the 1970s.

Before you check out the book, though, you should know that Stan has put together something of a photographic tour of his life over the past few years on his Facebook page. Stan regularly shares throwback photos and brief descriptions of what his life was like in the long ago; in the spirit of fascination that those pictures evoke, we’ve put together a miniature version of Stan Zuray’s bio, in photo gallery form, complete with the original captions. (We elected not to embed twelve different photographs in order to keep your browser running as smoothly as possible. If you’d like to see the photos in their original setting, you can comb through Stan’s extensive photo archive here.)

For starters, here’s a sweet shot of Stan as a little boy in Boston:

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I was born and raised in the Dorchester section of Boston for almost 19 years. It was a tight, mostly Irish/Italian working class neighborhood. Grew up in a good home but the neighborhood outside was not a good place to raise kids I think – it wasn’t a good place to raise me anyway.

From there, we jump ahead about thirty years to some of the earliest photos of his time in Alaska that Stan has shared:

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And this is a real blast from the past (early 1970’s) about 40 years ago in Tanana all these guys are around today.Three of them have been in the Yukon Men show. From left Wayne Nicholia, Peter Moore, me holding a fox skin, Ken Lilley the Tanana fireman with me in the fire episode and finally the famous Pat Moore in front.

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A friend I married sent me a Happy Birthday message and this picture of the day I married them. It’s from the mid 1970’s or so. Their dogs were their best man and maid of honor. Wedding was out in the woods about 40 miles north of Tanana and not many people around so guess we needed people in the audience and didn’t want to use them all for the wedding party.

Before too long, things got downright frontiersy:

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Early years on the small river I first lived on 40 miles north of the village of Tanana. Showing off my new (used) 300 win mag rifle, lead dog Arnie, 1/4 wolf puppy, “new” 20 year old chainsaw and a black bear hide.

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Built this smokehouse to dry salmon for my dogs and found out it was too airtight and so built open racks which worked much better. Made lots of mistakes in those early years. Made a great storage place however.

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After a few years on the Tozitna River in Alaska things were a little smoothed out. This is the cabin after moving it and adding a floor and a thin tin roof. First bunch of years it had a dirt floor and leaky sod roof.

Devoteés of Stan’s dry wit will recall his recent comment about wife Kathleen “going Hollywood.” The “fancy” caption below is another great example:

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Inside of Tozi cabin (in the 1980’s) during fancy years with a non dirt floor.

Here’s a photo of Monica, Stan’s oldest daughter, which he had with his first wife. (She and Monica didn’t last too long in Alaska, as another caption just below makes clear.)

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Monica would go long times without seeing any kids. She’d crawl out to the dog yard every day and get in the houses with the dogs and puppies.

Stan was the Rookie of the Year at the 1982 Iditarod, after finishing the race in sixteen days, six hours, and 44 minutes (good enough for ninth place overall out of 46 racers).

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Starting line Iditarod 1982. 1000 miles across Alaska from the big city of Anchorage in the south to the famous gold rush town of Nome in the north. Had little clue about how to race but did know how to travel by dogs.

Finally, here’s a trio of shots to round the gallery out. The first one, of Stan and Kathleen, looks to have been taken in the early to mid 90s. We’re basing that on the fact that the second photo had no proper caption–just a line saying that it was taken at Stan and Kathleen’s daughter Katlyn’s baby shower in 1988. And the third photo in the trio, which had no caption at all, features Stan holding baby Kate very shortly after her birth 🙂

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After moving to Tanana my 1st wife and daughter Monica moved back to Boston and I was a bachelor. I fished and trapped but was the Tanana Cop for periods….My main job was to simply stop the fights. Those were wild days with the first person put in jail being a good friend.
Then my friend and later wife Kathleen saved me. She grew up in Tanana and at fish camps in Rapids 40 miles upriver of Tanana. She loved dogs and the outdoors and traveling. We were made for each other.

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Click here to order Stan Zuray’s book Carry On. You can catch up on Yukon Men here–and you can catch new episodes when the show airs Fridays at 9 PM on Discovery.

(Photo credits: Stan Zuray’s bio via Facebook)

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