Kirk Gay (1944 - 2017)

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  • "I never met Kirk in person. Talked to him several times on..."
    - Waymon Vest
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    - Russ & Linda Grainger
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Born in Anchorage, Alaska, on Aug. 19, 1944, at the old Providence Hospital, Kirk flew away into higher skies on Aug. 27, 2017, from a hemorrhagic stroke.
Kirk was a lifelong Alaskan Pilot Guide best remembered for his love of flying and positive sunshine attitude. Kirk enjoyed flying, fishing, skiing, adventuring and, of course, walking the dog and playing scrabble with his lovely wife, Liza. In 1968, Kirk married Marilyn "Pip" Barrett, raised two children, and they divorced in 1986. In the spring of 1991, Kirk married Sarah Elizabeth "Liza" Fussner-McCracken and adopted her son, John Russell.
While growing up in Anchorage, Kirk spent the summers working at his father's hunting and fishing camps. By the time Kirk was 15, he was guiding clients and learning to fly with a dream of building his own sport fishing lodge one day. Kirk attended school in Anchorage graduating from the first senior class at West High School in 1962, attained his private pilot's license in 1961, and his commercial in 1965. Kirk served in the U.S. Army (1965-1967) and was a Vietnam Veteran. After that, he worked as a commercial pilot for his father's flying service, Ward Gay's Sea Airmotive at Lake Hood. Kirk's flying career took him to all parts of Alaska, flying the mail out of Bethel under contract with Wien Airlines, as well as, flying support for mineral and oil exploration on the southern Alaska Peninsula to the early days of oil exploration on the North Slope. Kirk combined flying and guiding hunting and fishing parties, during their respective seasons, alongside his commercial pilot work. Putting his management skills to work, Kirk helped his father develop Sea Airmotive into one of the largest and finest air taxis in the Pacific Northwest. Ward Gay sold his air service to his brother, Al Gay, in 1975, and Kirk stayed on with the newly formed SEAIR helping his uncle. In the fall of 1979, Kirk left the aviation company to realize his dream of building his own sport fishing lodge on family property near Lake Iliamna. Kirk owned and operated Alaska Safari Inc. and Alaska's Valhalla Lodge Inc. until his passing.
Kirk was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothy I. Gay; father, Ward I. Gay; brother, Ward R. Gay; son, John R. Gay, and his wife, Sarah E. Gay. Kirk is survived by his stepmother, Hana Gay; stepsister Kristina Wright; sister, Feryl Honorof; son, Christopher D. Gay; daughter, Brenda I. Waitman; son-in-law, Bradley J. Waitman; and three grandchildren, Breanna, Bradley and Daniel.
There is a memorial planned for Kirk on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m., at the Alaska Aviation Museum. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alaska Aviation Museum, 4721 Aircraft Drive, Anchorage, AK 99502; 907-248-5325;
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Sept. 14 to Sept. 15, 2017
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