George Spivey (1951 - 2018)

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George "Pete" Robert Spivey, 67, passed away on June 10, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. The only child of Jim and Elsie Spivey, Pete was born in Norfolk, Va., in 1951, the start of a Navy brat childhood that included stops in Puerto Rico, Florida and Alabama, the latter of which led to countless hours with his beloved Granny and her famous cheese grits and biscuits. Some of his happiest times and longest friendships came from his three high school years at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Those days often started with spearfishing in the Caribbean and ended with horseback rides on the beach with friends who have stayed close to this day, especially Sandra Shannon.
Pete started his reporting career in Florida with the Orlando Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post. However, he found his true home when he moved to Alaska in 1980, following his group of Florida journalist buddies in pursuit of the next big story and the next big adventure. After a two-hour stint with the Anchorage Times (it is rumored he never actually entered the building), Pete was hired by Kay Fanning at the Anchorage Daily News as a political reporter, his dream job. He never loved a job more than being a reporter, and it showed in the quality of his writing, culminating in a 1981 Champion Media Award for Economic Understanding for his work on stories about Alaska Native corporations.
Pete moved to Juneau in 1982, to work for newly elected Governor Bill Sheffield, serving as press secretary and close adviser. He fell in love with Southeast Alaska, and although he technically worked in the Capitol, you were just as likely to find him scaring up ducks in the Mendenhall Wetlands with his retriever Jessie Rose, or chasing deer across Admiralty Island with his best hunting buddies, Joel, Frank and Phil.
Pete delighted in being a dad to Tim and Jackson. He loved coaching them in baseball (especially with Tim as pitcher and Jackson as catcher on the same team), hunting with Tim and talking politics with Jackson. Both sons credit their writing skills to having both parents as former journalists - and heavy with the red pen! Pete's former wife, Molly McCammon, has many fond memories of camping out with friends, spending time at their cabin in the Brooks Range, and laughing and telling stories. Pete was a great story-teller, as well as a gifted writer, and was drawn to the quirkiness of humanity. He also had a near-photographic memory, and could recall even the smallest of details about family, friends and events (including that time he met John Denver).
Pete is survived by his sons, Tim and Jackson; former wife, Molly; father, Jim; and numerous friends. His mother, Elsie, preceded him in death in 2008. An informal gathering to share stories and memories will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at the Hilltop Ski Chalet. An event in Juneau will be scheduled for a later date.
Published in Anchorage Daily News from June 14 to June 15, 2018
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