Iditarod founder’s eldest son dies of surgery complications

August 17, 2017

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The eldest son of Alaska’s Iditarod founder has died at age 74.

Joseph “Joee” Redington Jr. died on Monday in Fairbanks of gallbladder surgery complications, the Iditarod Trail Committee posted on Facebook.

Joseph Redington Sr. is called the “Father of the Iditarod” for starting the dog sled race in 1973.

Redington Jr. was a champion sprint musher and early musher. He ran the 1967 Iditarod Centennial Race that grew into the Iditarod.

He also ran the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1974 and 1975, but is best known for his career as a sprint dog musher and breeder of versatile sled dogs.

“Joee was a historian of the sport, partly because he knew all the guys and gals who were around first through his dad and then through his own acquaintances,” Redington Jr.’s friend Arleigh Reynolds said.

He was widely known for breeding great sled dogs.

“His bloodlines are everywhere,” Reynolds said. “They are absolutely the most versatile line of dogs left anywhere in the world.”

Redington Jr. was a dog musher in the U.S. Army and ran an Army dog team that won the 1966 Fur Rendezvous sprint race.

In 2017, The Iditarod checkpoint that Redington Jr. helped host won the trail committee’s Golden Clipboard Award for going above and beyond to accommodate racers.