Alexander Oliphant, IV Obituary

Alexander  Oliphant, IV
Alexander Oliphant, IV

February 12, 1967 - January 15, 2018
Born in Lawton, Oklahoma
Resided in Juneau, Alaska


“Creative, caring, curious, kind, patient, giving, observant and living life on his terms.” “One of the smartest guys I ever met, and one of the most creative and driven guys I ever knew.”
This is how two of his friends described Alexander (Zan ) Oliphant IV , born in Lawton, Oklahoma February 12, 1967 to Alexander Oliphant III (Sandy) and Sue Ann Botkin Oliphant. As a baby and a small child he had an innate curiosity about everything from the natural world to the printed page, a trait which he carried through adulthood
Zan spent his early years in Bethel, Connecticut where he, his brother, and friends spent hours playing in the woods, building go karts, and doing the things that kids do. He learned about construction from his family who designed and built passive solar homes. When he was fifteen the family moved to Juneau where Zan went to middle and high school. He discovered fishing, scuba diving, skiing at Eaglecrest and even drove a car in the “demolition derby”. His interests were multifaceted. He was a voracious reader of many subjects as well as an accomplished auto mechanic. After graduating from Juneau Douglas High School in 1985 he went to UAF for three semesters, spent a semester at UAS, then transferred to Florida Atlantic University. His formal schooling was interrupted when he got a part time job at an electronics firm where during his breaks he proceeded to teach himself computer programming . He soon found work in the computer industry. Always an entrepreneur, he formed several successful ventures including a software company in Boca Raton, Florida.
In 1995 Zan returned to Juneau for his 10th high school reunion where he reconnected with Shirley Hubbard, one of his classmates. With Shirley’s young son Mitch they moved to Kirkland Washington where they bought a house overlooking Lake Washington. Zan became a mentor and father figure to Mitch, and was devastated when Mitch died in a car wreck when he was 18.
When Zan relocated to Washington his career soared. He worked for Microsoft, Google, Apple and several other firms. He wrote a book on Netscape Plugins and wrote for PC magazine. He worked for a firm in New Zealand as their west coast developer, and was instrumental in getting his younger brother a programming apprenticeship in New Zealand, starting him on a successful career as well. Always interested in working for himself he invented and programmed a device that would run a household (lights, heat, music) from one central location and could be accessed remotely, a predictor of the phone and voice activated applications that are common today
With his dog, Levi, Zan moved to the cabin he built in Index, Washington He was appointed to the local association board and when a mudslide cut off access to a large part of the community, he worked to get a replacement bridge across the river using his talents in research, his engineering knowledge, and his verbal gifts for convincing people to do the impossible. He began to write and had many short stories published on
Amazon Kindle.
Zan always loved the water, fishing, crabbing, boating, and scuba diving, and he was an accomplished mechanic keeping his boats in good repair. He was generous with his time and money and his extensive family and friends spent many happy hours in his boat on Lake Washington and Puget Sound, and in the Kirkland house. He had the good fortune to have a great intellectual mind with a solid foundation in how things work. That with a driving will to succeed served him well for many years.
Zan is survived by: his parents, Sandy and Sue, Oliphant; brother Andrew; sister and brother -in-law Alexa and Chris Gifford, and his nephews, Elliot, Lars, Wade, and Ole; brother and sister-in-law Brant and Jamie Oliphant. He is loved and remembered by many family and friends.
A memorial celebration will be in the Lodge at the Shrine of St Therese at 3:00, February 12.
Donations may be made to the Glory Hole in Juneau




Funeral Home
Cremation Society of Alaska
7216 Lake Otis Parkway
Anchorage, AK United States 99507