Michael Niska Meiser (1946 - 2018)

Obituary
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  • "Mike Meiser, truly one of the last of the old school good..."
  • "Mike was a kindhearted man who wrote eloquent letters to my..."
    - Marilyn Richards
  • "Dear Tina and family, So sorry to read about Mikes passing,..."
    - Harley and Margaret Livingston
  • "Mike, he was my true friend! We met during his initial..."
    - June Sugakawa
  • - Gery Lane
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Michael Niska Meiser, 71, died in his family's arms after a struggle with cancer on June 8, 2018.

Mike was born in 1946 in Vancouver, Washington. When he was 10, his dad, Art, answered an ad for a general store clerk in Fort Yukon. The family moved to a cabin with an oil-drum stove and Blazo-box furniture, and also ran the village lodge. Mike told fond stories of bush life-fishing, camping, and learning Gwich'in. He caught the flying bug by mooching rides from bush pilots.

When his family moved to Fairbanks, Mike became a gas boy. He washed planes and tended the coal fire at the hangar. He saved up for flying lessons and soloed at 15. After Fairbanks flooded in '67, he got a good deal on a damp Piper Colt. He flew it across Canada, pitching his tent under its wing, to the Montreal World's Fair, and then back to America to unsuccessfully become a hippie during the Summer of Love at Haight-Ashbury.

His favorite job was flying all around Alaska for Wien. Later, he flew medevacs to Seattle, and also worked for Rosenbalm and America West. He was hired as a captain by UPS in 1988 and spent 18 years flying internationally on the DC-8, 747 and MD-11. He spent 28,000 hours in the cockpit.

Mike met his wife Tina in the Hong Kong airport in 1983, when he was jumpseating to San Francisco. She was leaving home in Taipei for school stateside. Plans changed: She soon moved to Anchorage. They raised James Meiser, who is an art director in New York; and Ellen Meiser, a sociologist in Hawaii.

Because of his career, Mike knew where to hear jazz in Tokyo, jam to rock cover bands in Manila, and watch flair bartenders in Taipei. But what he loved most was the simple Alaskan life and his family. He was the best father to his kids, and a doting fur-dad to his Lhasa Apso, Gertrude "Gertie" Stein.

After hauling cargo, he happily ferried family around town on errands and was always game for a road trip. To the end, he attended weekly "safety meetings" at dear friend Bill Hatley's Lake Hood hangar. He also taught ESL and was a devoted volunteer for the Alaska Chinese Association.

Mike was kind and attentive to friends, family and community. He was keen on figuring out how to give people the help they needed in a way that was impossible to refuse. He loved his community abundantly. His compassion touched many.

He asked us to report to Alaskan readers that heaven smells like the cinnamon buns his mom baked in the Fort Yukon lodge, and that he's happy to see her in heaven.

He leaves behind his wife of 35 years Tina Meiser; children James and Ellen; daughter-in-law Leslie Jones; sisters Miriam Beck, Meg Meiser, and Mary Scott. He was preceded by his father Arthur Meiser and mother Melida Meiser.

A celebration of life-and Mike's last "safety meeting"-will be held on Friday June 15th from 7 to 9pm at the Alaska Aviation Museum. Contributions in his memory may be made to Bean's Cafe or cancer research at City of Hope.
Funeral Home
Janssen's Alaska Cremation Center
3804 Spenard Road
Anchorage, AK 99517
907-279-3741
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on June 12, 2018