Malutin had been in Anchorage for several weeks receiving medical attention.
Mike Rostad, who wrote about Malutin for the Mirror and became a friend of his, described him as someone who loved the community and wanted Kodiak to remain a friendly and hospitable town.
Rostad remembered Malutin enjoying a Russian Christmas starring celebration where Saint Innocent’s Academy brought the star and a joyful crowd participated and sang.
“Iver got up and was tearfully saying how wonderful it was that the academy was bringing people together just like the old days,” Rostad said. “It used to be people did a lot of things together, picnicking and boating. Iver saw that as a hope that we would be more unified as a community. He’s one of the end of an era, that elder group that experienced the old Kodiak.”
Rostad said Malutin was happy to be a part of Kodiak’s history.
“When Iver stood up, we knew we’d be hearing about Kodiak,” Rostad said. “He worked a lot with the kids, and always tried to get young people to learn the ways of the native people. Kodiak has lost a real treasure in Iver.”
Kodiak Island Borough Assembly member Frank Peterson, Jr. worked with Malutin with the Sun’Aq tribe.
Peterson described him as a “well-respected elder,” a “great man” with “a lot of experience.”
“He was very involved with the tribe and very concerned about its welfare. He’ll be missed a great deal,” Peterson added.
According to a 1995 oral history interview for Kodiak College, Malutin was born in Kodiak in June 30, 1931, and was in Kodiak during WWII and the 1964 earthquake and tsunami.
He remembered fishing on the Buskin River as a child, loading up a skiff with fish to take back to the canneries for processing.
During WWII, Malutin was 10, he said in the interview. He remembered darkening the windows when the air raid sirens went off, and having gas masks that they were required to keep with them when going out and about. He recalled submarine nets, lots of planes from the base flying around during the alarms, and a large battleship in the harbor at one point.
When the 1964 earthquake began, Malutin was at the dinner table, he said in the interview. He described the trees during the earthquake as moving “like fishing poles when you jiggle them real fast.”
He recalled heading down to the harbor to check on his brother’s boat and noticing the water rising up the dock pilings.
“By the time we got to the end of the dock the water was level with the dock,” he said.
A bio on the University of Alaska website said that Malutin graduated from Kodiak High School in 1950. He joined the U.S. Army in 1951 and was honorably discharged in 1953 as a Sergeant. During his time in the army, he said he became an expert on the M-1 rifle at 19 and was chosen to be one of six enlisted men traveling and teaching in Alaska with an officer.
After leaving the army, Malutin commercially fished for 50 years and worked construction around Alaska and in Washington, where he said he was the only native foreman.
Malutin served on a number of boards and councils in his life: Governor Bill Egan appointed him to the Fisherman’s Fund Council. He also served on the Kodiak Community College fisheries board and was the City of Kodiak Port and Harbor Advisory Board chairman for 21 years.
He was president of the Afognak Native Corporation and Pioneers of Alaska Kodiak, served on the Russian Church Council. He also was co-chairman of Rural Roundtable Keep Kodiak Rural, a board member of Koniag Regional Corporation and was appointed by Governor Frank Murkowski to the Alaska Commission on Aging. He represented the Alaska Native Elder Health Advisory Committee for the White House Conference on Aging.
Malutin was just five days shy of his 83rd birthday when he passed away.
Mirror editor Peter J. Mladineo also contributed to this story. Contact Julie Herrmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.