North of 60 Mining News - The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

A true Alaska coal mining pioneer passes

Joe Usibelli leaves legacy of ingenuity, generosity, and love North of 60 Mining News - May 16, 2022


Last updated 5/16/2022 at 2:54pm

Joe Usibelli, Sr., former president and chairman of Usibelli Coal Mines Alaska.

Joseph Usibelli

Usibelli Coal Mine May 14 announced the passing of Joseph Usibelli, Sr., an Alaska mining pioneer in the truest sense.

Born on Dec. 28, 1938, in Suntrana, a historic Alaska mining town about 3.5 miles east of the community of Healy, Joe Sr. spent his entire life involved with Alaska's mining sector.

The son of Emil and Rose Usibelli, Joe became president of Usibelli Coal Mine at the age of twenty-five after his father passed away unexpectedly in 1964. During his 23-year tenure, Joe initiated the modernization of the mine's equipment, introduced new mining techniques, and implemented a successful land reclamation program that predates any regulations requiring that level of mine restoration.

"My dad was a visionary and a pioneer in Alaska's mining industry," said Usibelli Coal Mine President Joe Usibelli Jr. "He was known for his ingenuity, generosity, and his deep love for his family, employees, and community. Together, we mourn his loss."

In 1987, Joe Jr. assumed the role of president, and his father went on to serve as chairman until his passing in Tucson, Arizona, with wife Peggy Shumaker by his side, on May 12. He was 83 years old.

Joe is survived by Peggy; sister Rosalie Whyel; six children (Joe Usibelli Jr., Cathy Usibelli, Mitch Usibelli, Anna Tavener, Rob Usibelli, and Sean Usibelli); ten grandchildren, three nieces, a nephew; and three great-nieces and nephews.

Details regarding the funeral and memorial arrangements are forthcoming.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 14 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (907) 726-1095


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