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Governor Orders Flags Lowered for Representative Koponen


December 6, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell has ordered all state flags to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday in memory of former Representative Niilo Koponen. Koponen died December 3 at the Fairbanks Pioneer Home. He was 85.

Koponen came to Alaska in 1952, ultimately homesteading on Chena Ridge. He earned a teaching degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and taught fourth and fifth grades in Fairbanks schools. He served as principal at Barnette and University Park elementary schools before representing Fairbanks in the Alaska Legislature from 1983-1992. Koponen remained active in the Fairbanks community, serving on boards and commissions, and helping nonprofit organizations.

He is survived by his wife, Joan, and their five children. State flags will be lowered on Wednesday, December 11. Flags should be returned to full-staff on Thursday.

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