"North to the Future"


Biographies J~P




SHELDON JACKSON During his lifetime, the Prebysterian minister reportedly traveled more than a million miles to spread the Christian gospel,founding churches and missions nationwide along the way. But he spent the later part of his life exploring the vast territory that would later become Alaska. In 1885, the U.S. government appointed him the region's first-ever education superintendent, tasking him with setting up free public schools for Native American, Eskimo, and white children. Jackson also introduced reindeer to the area, importing the animals from Siberia in 1892 as an alternative meat source (cattle and other animals cannot survive the frigid winters) amid fears of famine.

JACK JEFFORD Born in Nebraska September 6, 1910. Got his private pilots license in 1931 & flew in Nebraska before coming to Alaska. He first flew for Mirow Air Service, then joined CAA when first established a flight division & was Chief Pilot for the Alaska Region from 1940-1972. First to fly instruments over new range routes. After retiring in 1972 he & his pilot wife Ruth Martin Jefford opened Valley Air Transport, a charter operation out of Merrill Field in Anchorage. Jack died at his home in Wasilla August 12, 1979

Hon. CHARLES S. JOHNSON  Charles Sumner Johnson, the judge of the United States District Court, was born in Jones county, Iowa, in a log cabin on the Iowa prairies in the year 1854. At the age of thirteen he removed to Clarinda, of that state, and graduated from the high school. He then learned the printer's trade after which he attended the Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa, but was not permitted to graduate from that school owing to the lack of means with which to finish his course. Some time after this he attended the law department of the Iowa State University, and graduated from that school in the class of 1877. He then moved to Wahoo, Nebr., where he entered upon the practice of law. In 1879 he was elected city attorney, and was elected a member of the Nebraska legislature in 1882. In 1885 he removed to Nelson, in the same state, and the year following was elected prosecuting and county attorney and was afterward reelected to that office. During the year 1889 he was appointed U. S. District attorney for Alaska, which position he held for four and one-half years after which he removed to Juneau and engaged in the practice of law with Mr. John G. Heid one of the leading lawyers of Alaska. In 1897 he received the appointment of U. S. District judge and was confirmed by the senate.

Judge Johnson attended three national conventions, in 1884, 1888 and 1896 and was chairman of his delegation in the last convention and also a member of the committee appointed to notify President McKinley of his nomination and visited Canton, Ohio, when the committee met there for the performance of its duties. The Judge is at the present time the national committeeman for Alaska.

Judge Johnson is well fitted for the responsible position he holds. He possesses that cool, deliberate make-up that, is not only desirable in a judge, but should in fact be possessed by every judicial officer who presides over a trial court. In personal appearance he bears quite a resemblance to Senator Foraker of Ohio. He is over six feet tall, weighs about 200 pounds, is socially a most pleasant gentleman and will always attract attention wherever he may be by his pleasing manner and fine personal appearance. He has never forgotten that he was once a practicing attorney and is a good friend of the profession.

Source: Douglas Island News, Douglas City, Alaska, January 18, 1899

Mr. Johnson, known as "The Screaming Swede," was raised in the Alaska Peninsula - Aleutian Island - Kodiak area. As Captain of BSP511 in the U. S. Army, Jimmy rescued 400 passengers and crew members aboard the Steamship "Yukon" which ran aground east of Seward in 1946 during a blinding snowstorm. For his act of heroism, Jimmy received medal at Ft. Richardson, Alaska. After leaving the military, Jimmy was a fisherman around Cook Inlet. He died as he had lived, wild, woolly and one superior Alaskan boatman. He is buried in Angelus Memorial Cemetery, Anchorage.

JERRY JONES Was a Pacific Alaska Airways pilot in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Later reassigned by
Pan American Airways to South America - Miami route. Retired to Miami, FL after outstanding record with Pan Am.

ROY F. JONES Born October 16, 1893 in Washington. Was a US Army pilot in WW I. In July 1922
flew a four-place Curtiss MF Flying Boat named the Northbird with an Hispano-Suiza 180hp engine from Seattle to Ketchikan & founded Northbird Aviation Co. the first commercial aviation company in Alaska. Used carrier pigeons as a means of communication from remote locations. He was a partner in Ketchikan's Pioneer Airways in 1930. Later he flew in Alaska during WWII as an Air Force officer, stationed for awhile at Ladd Field, Fairbanks. He retired as a Major in the Air Force Reserves. Died Feb 17, 1974 in Vancouver, Washington.

HERMAN "HERM" JOSLYN Born April 2, 1905. Flew for Wien and Pollack Air Service in early 1930's. Went with Pacific Alaska Airways in early 1940's. Flew Lockheed Electras on early route Fairbanks - Juneau. Retired as a Pan Am Captain to Seattle area. Died in Seattle in November 1969.

JOSEPH JUNEAU / JOE JUNEAU  (1833 or 1836–1899) was a miner and prospector from Canada who was born in the Quebec town of Saint-Paul-l'Ermite (later renamed Le Gardeur and now incorporated into the city of Repentigny) to François Xavier Juneau dit Latulippe and Marguerite Thiffault Juneau. He is best known for co-founding, with Richard Harris, the city of Juneau, Alaska, United States. The first major gold discovery in Juneau or Douglas Island (across from Juneau) was circa 1880. It has been the political capital of Alaska since 1906.

His Native American guide in southeastern Alaska was Chief Kowee. Kowee is credited with exploring much of the Juneau area. Richard and Joe were sent with Kowee by George Pilz, an entrepreneur and mining engineer from Sitka. Richard and Joe traded with the natives much of their grubstake for hoochinoo. When they returned to Pilz empty-handed, he promptly sent them back to the Juneau area. There, Kowee took them beyond Gold Creek (which today flows beside the city's United States Federal Building[1]) to Silver Bow Basin. Today, a creek on Douglas Island is named Kowee Creek.

After the discovery of gold in Juneau, Richard and Joe loaded approximately 1,000 pounds of gold ore back to Sitka.

The town was originally called Harrisburg or Harrisburgh, and then Rockwell. Miners often called it "'Rockwell' also known as 'Harrisburg'" in their mining records. There was also a proposal to name the town Pilzburg for Pilz. It did not take up its current name until a miners' meeting on December 14, 1881. The name Juneau received 47 of the 72 votes cast while Harrisburg received 21 votes and Rockwell only 4.[1] Joe Juneau reportedly bought drinks for fellow miners to name the city in his honor.[2]

Joe Juneau traveled to Dawson City, Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. He usually spent gold as fast as he got it but at the end of his life he owned a small restaurant in Dawson. Juneau died of pneumonia in March, 1899 in Dawson. His body was brought back to the town that bears his name and was buried in the city's Evergreen Cemetery on August 16, 1903.

His cousin Solomon Juneau founded the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.




JEWEL KILCHER, better known simply as "Jewel," grew up in Homer, Alaska, a small town of less than 6,000 residents. The home she shared with her father lacked indoor plumbing and, to make ends meet, the pair often sang in local bars. Reportedly, this is how she learned to yodel. After learning to play the guitar and sing, she moved to San Diego to pursue a music career, living in a van while she toured the country playing small gigs. Her 1995 debut album Pieces of You went platinum twelve times, earning her 3 Grammy nominations. The album's hit track "Who Will Save Your Soul?" was one of the first songs she ever wrote.

KIMBALL Decema Kimball-Andresen-Slawson ( 1906 - 2002)
Decema was born in Seward, Alaska. She arrived in Anchorage in 1915 at the young age of 9. Her parents, Irving and Della Kimball, bought the property for Kimball's Dry Goods at Fifth Avenue and E Street in the first town site auction of that same year. It still stands on what is currently the northwest corner of what is now known as Town Square. She continued to own and operate this business after her mother's death in 1958 until about 1998. Her business is the oldest continuously operating business in Anchorage. Presently, it is the only private land and structure on a square block of city park. Decema was also a pilot and a hunter who enjoyed her state. She is buried in Angelus Memorial Park, Anchorage.

MAURICE KING James Maurice "Maury" King born Dec 17, 1900, learned to fly in Portland, OR. Came to Alaska as a pilot for Archie Ferguson in Kotezebue in mid-1930s & also flew for Wien and Alaska Airlines. Flew a Norseman for the Arctic Institute of North America, and was lost with two passengers on a flight in St. Elias Range from the Institutes research station on Seward Glacier in Canada to a base camp at Yakutak on July 27, 1951. Both American & Canadian search efforts failed to ever locate a wreckage.

MERRITT D. "KIRK" KIRKPATRICK Born 1902 in Cowley County, Kansas, came to Alaska as pilot-mechanic for Harold Gillam in early 1930's. Founded Cordova Flying Service in 1934 with a group of businessmen and was first president & often the only pilot. Cordova Flying Service pre-dated Cordova Airlines. He flew a Bird biplane and an open cockpit Stearman. Operated Bellancas on floats, wheels and skis from Cordova to McCarthey, Chitina, Katalla and Yakataga. Died in aircraft accident near Cordova on April 10, 1939.

BILL KNOX Pilot for Pacific Alaska Airways in early 1930's. Flew Fairbanks - Nome and Fairbanks - Bethel mail routes. Continued flying with Pan Am eventually out of New York.


MAX N. LALANDE Max N. LaLande.(1912-1999)
Max was born to be a baker and in 1942 he brought his skill to Alaska. He became a contractor to the military during WWII and kept our troops sustained with baked goods. Later, in Kodiak, he started several businesses which culminated in Kodiak Bakery. Max moved to Anchorage in 1958 and ran Tudor Market until he retired. After his retirement, the Anchorage Pioneer's Home was the beneficiary of his white thumb for the next 19 years. He loved to tell how he obtained vintage 1880 sourdough from Sourdough Ed in the Aleutians in 1942 and continued to use it for many years thereafter. He is buried in Angelus Memorial Park, Anchorage.

WILLIAM L. "BILL" LAVERY Born March 16, 1914 in Fairbanks and raised in Fairbanks. At age 15 went to California to learn to fly. Was flight mechanic on rescue of Russians stranded in Arctic Ocean & was decorated with the Order of Lenin by the Russian government. With funds from his award, at age 19 started Lavery Airways and established first Fairbanks - Anchorage route. Lavery Airways became part of Alaska Airlines in 1942. Later flew for Wien in Fairbanks. After retiring as a pilot in 1970 was manager of Fairbanks International Airport from 1973 - 1975. Died in Fairbanks at age 69 in December 1983.

HERMAN LEARDAHL Born February 26, 1906. Came to Alaska to fly for his brother, Ed Leardahl, in Fairbanks in mid-1930's. Then flew for Wien Airlines out of Fairbanks. During WW II began flying for Northwest Airlines, from which he retired to Fox Island, Washington. He died in January 1983 at Desert Hot Springs, California.

BERT LIEN Came to Alaska to fly for Harold Gillam. Flew out of Fairbanks on weather contract. Later flew mail Fairbanks - Bethel. Joined Pacific Alaska Airways, which became Pan American. Flew 707's on the San Francisco - Honolulu run. Died in 1966 in San Francisco.

JOHN H. "JOHNNY" LITTLEY Born August 22, 1903. Partnered with Ray Petersen in 1935 in founding Bethel Airways which closed in 1936 after both its planes crashed. Flew Fairchild 71's and Travelair 6000's. Moved to States in mid-1940's & died Jan 8, 2004 in Vancouver, WA at age 100.

AL LYLE Came to Alaska in mid-1930's. Flew out of Copper Center and Valdez and into the 40 Mile Country. Formed Lyle and Dorrance Airways with Ed Dorrance & after Dorrance was killed in a plane crash in 1937 founded Lyle Airways out of Gakona, Alaska. Left Alaska early 1940's & later returned to live in Copper Center.

JOHN LYNN Arrived in Alaska in mid-1930's. Flew out of Fairbanks and Nome with Northern Air
Transport and continued with Wien when Noel Wien took over that company and changed the name to Wien Airlines. Flew commercially as a pilot on F-27's for Northern Consolidated Airlines.


GORDON MACKENZIE Born August 5, 1904. World War I RAF pilot. Barnstormed Seattle area early 1920's. Pilot for Alaska Washington Airways when it was started. Came to Anchorage in Mid-1930's. Was a partner with Al Jones & John Amundsen in 1937 opening Anchorage Airways flying a Fairchild 17 & a Fairchild 42. The venture only lassted one yeara. Flew for McGee Airways, Star Air Service, Woodley Airways, Mirow and Alaska Airlines. Flew actively out of Anchorage until late 1950's. Joined FAA in 1958. Worked until his death in 1963, in Anchorage, of natural causes.



RAY MALA At 16, Mala became the first Native American cinema star from Alaska when he appeared in a 1921 film about the largely unexplored territory (He also worked as a cameraman on the film, a skill that helped him land his first job in Hollywood). Mala would eventually become the state's most prolific thespian, appearing in more than 25 films, including Eskimo/Mala the Magnificent (1933), which won the Academy's first editing Oscar, The Last of the Pagans (1935), a film written by Mia Farrow's father, and Cecil B. DeMille's Union Pacific (1939). In 1943, he worked on the set of Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt as a cinematographer and died nine years later in Hollywood, at the age of 46.



JIM MASON "KEISH" OR "SKOOKUM JIM" In August 1896, Mason — better known among fellow members of the Tagish tribe as "Keish" —was traveling with his family along a small tributary of the Yukon River when he found several gold nuggets (Given the racism of the time, though, credit for the discovery went to Mason's white brother-in-law George Tarmack). Misleading attribution aside, when the news reached the United States, thousands of hopeful prospectors flocked to the region, including Jack London, whose experience there inspired him to write The Call of the Wild and White Fang.

AMANDA McFARLAND Amanda McFarland and her sponsor the Rev. Dr. Sheldon Jackson first stepped ashore at the village of Fort Wrangel on August 10, 1877, just two days before Amanda’s 45th birthday. If she had not been a mature Christian she probably would have gotten right on the next boat south and gone back to Portland. She found that she would be the lone white woman in a lawless goldrush town. Fort Wrangel was recently closed and the only representative of law and order was a commissioner of customs. Moreover, the only available building was an empty dance hall which would be reclaimed when the miners came down the Stikine River from the Cassiar mines in October. For more than a year she served as the minister to the small settlement.

Amanda soon learned that she would have to contend with the evils of slavery and witchcraft. Rev. S. Hall Young wrote that Fort Wrangel had forty Indian slaves in 1878 and about 100 persons were killed as witches that year. She quickly won the trust of the native Alaskans, and the Indians turned to her for advice on spiritual, legal, and medical matters. She once presided over an Indian constitutional convention.

Amanda was undaunted, so Sheldon Jackson arranged for the dance hall, gave her ten dollars, and hurried back to the East Coast to plead for funds for the Alaska mission. It was not in the budget and he had to sell the idea to the mission board. Some were horrified that he had left a lone woman in such a hostile environment.

Because of a jurisdictional dispute, Amanda did not receive a dollar of salary for a whole year. She stayed in Fort Wrangel because her heart had gone out to a small band of forty Christian Indians who had welcomed her with great joy as their teacher and spiritual leader. They had been converted by a young Canadian Indian, Philip McKay, who with friends had a government contract to cut wood for Fort Fort Wrangel. Philip’s Indian name was “Clah.” His interpreter was Mrs. Sarah Dickinson, an Indian woman who had married a white man. When the fort closed, Philip, though barely literate and ill with tuberculosis, stayed on to shepherd the little flock.

Amanda opened her school in the dance hall with about thirty pupils, with the Indian woman as interpreter. The number soon grew to 94. Her only supplies were four Bibles, four hymnals, three primers, thirteen first readers and a wall chart. Amanda wrote to Sheldon Jackson on December 10, 1877:

I never loved a school so well. Today I had 74 Indians crowded into that little room, but there was no confusion, but perfect obedience and order. But there is so much to be done (Philip was on his deathbed and could no longer do the preaching). I try to do everything I can, but feel every day that I must leave much undone.

Amanda was soon offered a better job at Sitka with twice the pay, a house, and her winter’s wood supply, if she would teach a few white children. She declined because her heart went out to the young Indian girls being sold into prostitution. She wrote to Sheldon Jackson:

Last week Mr. X went to the parents of my favorite scholar, a bright little girl of 13, and actually bought her for twenty blankets. I determined to rescue her, as she was taken by force, begging and crying not to go. I succeeded in getting her away and her mother promised to keep her at home. But I fear for her.
Every day I feel more and more the need of a home for girls. This week I rescued one of my girls, age 11, from a white man on the street who was trying to get her to go to his house. Oh, if the Christian women in the East could see these things as I do, they would feel the importance of such a work here among our poor sisters.

When her stirring letters were published in church circles in the East she did get the home for girls she had asked for.

Amanda was delighted with the arrival of the Reverend Young, too, who soon married a teacher from Sitka, Fannie Kellogg. Fannie helped with Amanda’s new home school built in 1880. Amanda’s fame had spread throughout southeast Alaska and the school now had more applicants than could be accepted. Then came the dreadful shock of fire which destroyed the school in February 1883. No lives were lost but forty children had to run out into the snow.

Instead of rebuilding, the board sent Amanda to Sitka with as many pupils as wished to go. At Sitka, she became matron of the girls’ dormitory which she loved. However, her troubles were not over. According to Sheldon Jackson’s report of 1886 to the Secretary of the Interior, the newly appointed attorney general and others at Sitka were opposed to the mission school’s grant of land and stirred up Indian opposition to the school. Parents withdrew about half the pupils and rumors were spread that the matron was a witch, after a girl died of pneumonia. Even Sheldon Jackson was jailed for a short time.

In 1886, Amanda was asked to manage a new industrial boarding school at Howkan, the largest Haida Indian settlement. It was on an island about fifty miles west of Ketchikan. Howkan was later named “Jackson” and combined with two other villages to form the present Hydaburg. Here Amanda McFarland mothered, trained, and inspired the Indian young people for eleven years until her retirement in 1897 at the age of 65. She had given twenty fruitful years to Alaska: six at Fort Wrangel, two at Sitka, and twelve at Howkan.

A Brief Summary
of Amanda’s First 45 Years

Born Amanda Reed on August 12, 1832 in Fairmont, Virginia, (later West Virginia when it became a separate state in 1863 during the Civil War), she was one of thirteen children born into a strong Christian family which produced several missionaries. Her father was a “river man” who died of blood poisoning following an accident in which his leg was caught between two logs. Fairmont was located in a coal mining district near the Pennsylvania and Ohio borders. Amanda did not have to travel far to attend the distinguished female seminary in Steubenville, Ohio.

After graduation, she taught school in the Ohio Valley until at the age of 25 Amanda married the Rev. Dr. David McFarland, eleven years her senior. Immediately after the wedding in her home church, the couple left for Illinois. In 1866, after about ten years of preaching and teaching in Illinois, the Presbyterian board of missions asked the McFarlands to pioneer a mission at Santa Fe in the Catholic stronghold of the Territory of New Mexico. Other Protestant denominations had tried and failed.

Amanda’s family and friends were strongly opposed to her going to the wild frontier by a two and one half-week stagecoach journey through Indian country and no house at journey’s end. Her husband also thought it best to go ahead and scout out the land. So Amanda stayed with her family in Fairmont for the winter.

Dr. McFarland accomplished a great deal in the seven months before Amanda joined him. Aided by the Territorial Governor's wife, Mrs. Jennie Mitchell, the Rev. McFarland held the first Presbyterian service in the Council Chambers of the Palace of the governors in Santa Fe on Sunday, November 25, 1866, with 40 present, followed by Sabbath School in the afternoon. On December 10, 1866, he opened a school with ten scholars. On a snowy Sunday, January 6, 1867, the church, the oldest Protestant Church in New Mexico, was organized with 12 members, only 3 of whom were Presbyterian, and a Board of Trustees was elected which included Gov. Mitchell, Chief Justice Slough, a pallbearer at President Lincoln's funeral, the Postmaster, a Colonel of Ft. Marcy, and a promising young lawyer named Elkin. On March 4 of the same year, the Session purchased two acres of land at a Sheriff's sale and a 3-room house. Amanda arrived in Santa Fe in May, 1867 with forty pounds of baggage.

A year later, September 11, 1868, David and Amanda's only child, Harry Fulton, age 7 months, died of cholera. Amanda had a wealth of mother love to lavish on other people’s children and kept twelve of them in her own home. On December 14, 1868, the Presbytery of Santa Fe, Synod of Kansas, was organized. The church was visited by Sheldon Jackson, who made a glowing report of the progress of the Church and School.

After eight years and a successful ministry at Santa Fe, her husband’s health broke and they spent two years in San Diego, California. Feeling better, he begged to return to the mission field, and they were sent to the Nez Perce Indians in Idaho. There the Rev. David McFarland died of cancer on May 13, 1876. Amanda, now doubly bereaved, went to be near friends in Portland, Oregon. There, Dr. Sheldon Jackson met her and asked her to go to Fort Wrangel.

In 1898 at the age of 65, Amanda McFarland retired to Oklahoma and then to Fairmont, West Virginia, where she lived with her brother and died at the age of 80. She always spoke and wrote on behalf of Alaska missions.

Sheldon Jackson said of her:

All of the perplexities political, religious, physical, and moral of the Indian population were brought to her. Her fame spread far and wide among the tribes.

Since the Tlingit Indian society was matrilineal, Amanda McFarland had status as a woman – an advantage at the time of her most famous and daring exploit...

At Fort Wrangel, two of her female pupils disappeared from school. Word was brought to Mrs. McFarland that they had been accused of witchcraft and were being tortured. Amanda set out to rescue them. Her pupils implored her not to go. “They are having a devil dance and will kill you!” Sarah Dickinson, the interpreter, threw her arms around Amanda and, weeping, declared she was going to her death.

But up the beach alone marched the Christian teacher to where her two poor girls were stripped naked with hands and feet tied behind their backs, in the center of fifty frantic dancing fiends who, with yells, cut the victims with knives and tore out pieces of their flesh. Forcing her way to the side of the captives, Mrs. McFarland stood warning and pleading, and threatening them with the wrath of the United States gunboat, and after hours of dauntless persistency, cowed the wretches and took away the half-dead girls. (During the night, one of them was recaptured and killed.)

In 1878, a male minister arrived at Fort Wrangel and took over many of McFarland's official duties. Until her death in 1912 at the age of 80, McFarland remained an immensely influential woman within both the White and Native American communities of southern Alaska. She would later be called "Alaska's Courageous Missionary."
LINIOUS "MAC" McGEE Born 1897 in Francesville, IN. Worked in his grandfather's bank. In 1931 with no money but anxious for adventure, stowed away on the SS Aleutian from Seattle to Seward, Alaska. Worked for a time for A. A. Shonebeck who was the Standard Oil dealer in Anchorage. He got into fur trading, then bought a Stinson and started charter flying which expanded into McGee Airways. In 1936 McGee sold the airline with his fleet of seven black & silver Stinsons to Star Air Service and Mac managed the company for a time, then went back to mining. Mac died in Reno, NV in 1988.

OWEN E. MEALS Born Nov 19, 1891 in Nebraska. Came to Alaska with his family in 1903. Went to Denver in 1927 where he learned to fly & bought his first plane an open-cockpit Eaglerock the "Spirit of Valdez." Made first flights to Copper River Valley and Fairbanks in 1928. He wrecked the plane, and when Bob Reeve arrived in Valdez looking for a job, Meals hired him to repair the plane. Reeve leased the plane & started a charter business which was the beginning of what would ultimately become Reeve Aleutian Airways. As a Valdez businessman, Meals was prominent both in flying and promoting aviation in that area. Died in Valdez in December 1974.

RUSSEL HYDE "RUSS" MERRILL Born Des Moines, IA 1894; grew up in Des Moines. In 1915 enlisted in US Navy Reserve & from 1917-1921 was in the Naval Flying Corps. He received a B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Cornell Univ in 1919. He was again in the Naval Flying Corps from 1922 to 1925. In 1925 Merrill & Roy J. Davis flew Davis's Curtiss Flying Boat on the first flight across the Gulf of Alaska & became the first airplane ever to arrive in Anchorage. Merrill lost the plane in a crash on Chugach Island on a charter flight, and Merrill & Davis returned to Portland. When Anchorage investors formed Anchorage Air Transport in 1927 Russ was hired as chief pilot. This was the first airline operation in Anchorage. On one of his pioneering flights in Alaska he discovered what is now known as Merrill Pass.Russ left Anchorage alone on September 16, 1929 in a Whirlwind Travel Air, bound for Akiak village and was never heard from again. In October 1929 a piece of fabric from the plane was found on Cook Inlet near Tyonek. Merrill Pass and Anchorage's Merrill Field were named after him.

EUGENE A. "GENE" MEYRING Born September 6, 1904 in Colorado. Flew for Alaska Washington Airways, Alaska Southern Airways & Pacific Alaska Airways in Southeast Alaska in 1930s. Later joined Pan American Airways. Retired to San Francisco where he died May 7, 1975.

STEVEN E. "STEVE" MILLS Born in Dayton, WY in 1896. Moved to Seattle after serving in WW I. Learned to fly in Seattle & became Chief Instructor at Washington Aircraft at Boeing Field. Came to Anchorage in 1932 partnering with Charley Ruttan & Jack Waterworht to found Star Air Service to train student pilots. He continued as a pilot for Star and in August 1936 was chief pilot. He and five passengers were killed in crash above Upper Russian Lake on a charter flight to the Russian River on the Kenai Peninsula.

HANS MIROW Born in Germany, learned to fly at Tex Rankins Flying School in Portland, OR in 1929. Flew for National Air Transport in early 1930's. Established Mirow Air Service out of Nome in mid-1930's. First to schedule flights between Anchorage and Nome. Hans & his mechanic Pete Bystedt died in 1939 in crash of Stinson Gullwing between Unalakleet and Kaltag, while searching for Fred Chambers, one of his pilots who was forced down between Nome & Fairbanks with passengers. The Chambers plane was later found & rescued. Mirow Air Service became part of Alaska Star Airlines in 1942, which later became part of Alaska Airlines.

FREDDIE MOLLER Came to Alaska in 1901 prospecting for gold. Learned to fly to facilitate prospecting in far North remote locations. Became known as "The Flying Prospector." Survived many airplane crashes. Eventually went to work for Pan American as a flight mechanic and became a legend. Died along with pilot & four passengers in crash of a Pan American Pilgram on takeoff ten miles east of Nome in April 1944.

AL MONSEN Alf Nikolai "Al" Monsen born Norway, came to the U.S. in 1906. Worked for the Alaska Railroad. Learned to fly in the 1920s. Flew for Pacific International Airways, Pacific Alaska Airways & Pan American Airways where he flew the Seattle-Fairbanks-Juneau route. Died in a crash on Annette Island near Ketchikan in 1947 on his last flight before retirement. Was known to his friends as "Big Money Monsen", & famous for his expression, "every minute counts."

JOHN WESLEY "JOHNNY" MOORE Born September 18, 1907 in Eureka, CA. Came to Alaska in 1932. Flew for Gillam in the Copper River Country, was one of McGee's first pilots, then with Star Air Service. Managed and flew for Mirow Air Service out of Nome after Hans Mirow was killed in 1939 until it was sold to Alaska Star Airlines in 1942. Left Alaska in 1945 to fly for the Air Transport Command. Returned to Alaska in 1959 & became an electrician for Chugach Electric Association. He retired to Florence, OR in 1978, & died in Seattle May 4, 1988.

LEO MOORE Flew out of Anchorage to the Interior and Lower Kuskokwim. Flew first cow into
McGrath. Trip was successful, but the bull had not done his proper job, so there never was any milk for Dave Clough's baby granddaughter. After Alaska lived in Carmichael, CA.

HERBERT A. "HERB" MUNTER Born June 13, 1894. Taught himself to fly in Seattle & became Boeing's first test pilot. In 1935 Herb formed Air Craft Charter Service out of Ketchikan which he sold in 1941 to become a WW II Navy pilot. After the war partnered with Nick Bez to form West Coast Air Lines & became executive VP. The airline became a part of Air West. Died in Concord, CA May 24, 1970 after a long illness.


KENNETH WAYNE "KENNY" NEESE Born Waterloo, IA 1903; came to Anchorage in 1932. Flew for McGee Airways and then with Star Air Lines when Star bought McGee. Was Chief Pilot for Star. Left Alaska in 1941 to fly for Air Transport Command ferrying bombers & transport planes between Florida, South America and Africa. Was killed on takeoff in 1944 on his last flight before transferring to a desk job.

MATT NIEMINEN Born January 20, 1897. Flew out of Fairbanks in late 1920's. Was active in Eielson search. In 1930 Matt took first flight without oxygen over Mt. McKinley in a Fairchild 71 monoplane belonging to Alaska Airways, breaking the altitude record for flying without oxygen at over 20,300 feet. In 1930 he was first to fly into Lake Clark country in a Waco 10. Died February 1966 at Denver, CO.



SARAH PALIN The self-proclaimed hockey mom and political maverick swept America off its proverbial feet with her snarky and smooth repartee at the 2008 Republican National Convention when the Alaska Governor introduced herself as John McCain's surprise vice-presidential pick. By now, America is so familiar with Palin's personal history that one conniving teenager broke into her Yahoo! account by answering simple security questions like "Where did you meet your husband?" (Answer: Wasilla High School"). Despite the ups and downs of the campaign (Troopergate, the wardrobe debacle, Saturday Night Live, her daughter's untimely pregnancy, Katie Couric's infernal questions, and, oh yeah, defeat), Palin emerged as one of the party's most invigorating and captivating personalities. If 2009 calendar sales are any indication, Palin's future is looking bright.

ELBERT E. "AL" PARMENTER Born in Iowa March 31, 1903. Barnstormed, did air racing & stunt flying in Oregon in late 1920s. Came to Alaska to fly for Harold Gillam in mid-1930's. Flew mostly the Valdez - Fairbanks route; later flew for Cordova Air Service, and Woodley Airways. Left Alaska before WW II to work for Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, CA. Died April 4, 1978 at Santa Clara, CA.

JACK PECK - Born January 25, 1915. Started flying in Valdez. Came to Anchorage then went to Bethel and formed Peck & Rice Airways, with Wyman Rice which operated for several years. Flew Alaska Airlines during the war years. Was chief pilot for Al Jones Flying Service in 1947, then owned and operated Alaska Aeronautical Industries in Anchorage & operated a Cessna dealership at Lake Hood. Died August 1978 at Soldotna, Alaska.

RAYMOND INGVARD "RAY" PETERSEN Born in York, Nebraska in 1912 & raised on a Wyoming ranch before moving with his family to Chicago. Earned his commercial pilots license in 1930. Came to Anchorage April 1, 1934 & began flying for Star Air Service, then moved to Bethel to fly for Marsh Airways. Partnered with Johnny Littley in 1935 to form Bethel Airways which went out of business in 1936 after both its planes crashed. In 1937 Ray formed Ray Petersen Flying Service in Bethel, which became part of Northern Consolidated Airlines through a series of mergers & acquisitions. Ray became president & CEO and continued as Chairman of Wien Consolidated Airlines after another merger with Wien Alaska Airlines. After retiring from aviation in 1979, Ray & his son operated a group of fishing lodges in Katmai National Park. Ray died in Anchorage Aug 12, 2008 at age 96.

FRANK POLLACK Started flying career with Northern Air Transport flying out of Valdez, Fairbanks &, Nome. In 1933 founded Pollack Flying Service in Fairbanks. Did contract flying for Weather Bureau in 1935. Sold his flying service to Alaska Star Airlines in 1942 and became Alaska Airlines operations manager in Fairbanks.

Designed by Templates in Time
This page was last updated 01/30/2022