Michael A "Mike" Grummett (1937 - 2016)

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  • "One of the joys of living in the "Highlands," was having..."
    - Marjorie Menzi
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    - Kellus Sewell
  • "DeeAnn, I just saw this. I am very sorry. Take care. Ray"
    - Ray Preston
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In the evening of October 22, 2016 Mike passed away at his home from complications of Alzheimer's disease. At the time of his death he was cared for and attended to by his wife, DeeAnn, and a long time caregiver. Mike was seventy-nine.

Mike was born at St. Anne's Hospital in Juneau, Alaska in 1937. He was the first child born to Stanley and Grace Grummett who were married in Juneau at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on April 14, 1934.

Mike lived his entire life in Juneau, attending Capitol Elementary School, and then graduating from Juneau High School in 1955. He went on to attend Washington State University where he earned his Business Administration degree and a commission as a Second Lieutenant. After active duty with the Reserves in Fort Eustis, Virginia and Ft. Mason. San Francisco. Mike returned to Juneau in 1960 and joined the family business as a licensed agent. His mother, Grace Grummett, had taken over operation of the business after Mike's father suffered a debilitating stroke in August, 1954. In 1967 Mike was elected President of the Alaska Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers, Inc. and continued working with his mother and brother, Roger, in the family business until Grace retired that same year. Mike and Roger operated the business together until the merger with the Shattuck Insurance Agency in October, 1971. Mike retired from the business in 1993.

In 1961, Mike married Jean Burris and they had three sons; Terry, Ken, and Jeff. They later divorced and he married DeeAnn Hardman in 1981. Mike loved his family and took his young sons on hiking and fishing adventures in Southeast and ski trips down south. In his later years, he especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. They shared many adventures with "Grandpa Mike" traveling together in their own back yard on the trails above the tram, romping at Sandy Beach or skiing at Eaglecrest as well as going out of state to a dude ranch, touring national parks and visiting relatives in Idaho.

Mike was active in social activities of the community throughout his life. As a young man, he was a member of the Boy Scouts and served with his brother. Roger, as an acolyte at Holy Trinity Church where their mother, Grace, was very active. Throughout his high school years and later he spent many days with family and friends at the Grummett cabin in Lena Cove until it was sold in October 2012.

Mike was active in sports and music and in high school, he was on the baseball and basketball teams. Playing in Anchorage, Mike made a final free throw shot that won for Juneau the 1955 state basketball championship. Mike continued playing basketball in his early adult years enjoying his participation as a player in the "Old Timers" Juneau City League and then later contributing his time coordinating the judging of the Gold Medal Tournament teams for selection of best players and teams.

Mike played the trumpet as first chair in the high school band, played in the WSU marching band through college, then played with the Juneau Symphony in its early years. He continued to enjoy playing for family and his own entertainment through most of his life, even performing for his friends at the Bridge Adult Day Care Program in the early stages of his disease.

The Tlingit culture, history and language were of special interest to Mike and he spent many years studying the language, both formally with local Tlingit instructors and on his own with texts developed by Dick and Nora Dauenhauer. He was adopted into the Raven Coho Clan of Sitka by longtime friends the Joseph family and he enthusiastically participated in their ceremonial functions until he was no longer able.

Civic involvement spanned Mike's adult life. He loved Juneau and its people and contributed to the community by serving on various boards and commissions. In his youth he socialized at the Zach Gordon Youth Club; then as an adult he served on their board for over thirty years, serving as president of the board for a time and on their scholarship fund committee. He continued as a board member emeritus until his death. In 1967, while in his early thirties, he was chosen along with eleven others by special election to serve on the Greater Juneau Borough Charter Commission to combine the City of Juneau, Borough of Juneau and the City of Douglas. Their work resulted in the charter which is still the basis for Juneau's form of government. In the 1970's Mike was active in the Chamber of Commerce serving one term as president and was a Volunteer Fireman until those duties became official functions of the city government. In the 1980's Mike volunteered with Alaska Fish and Game doing research on the brown bears of Admiralty and later worked in helping Fish and Game in their efforts to re-establish the mountain goats on the ridges above Gold Creek. After retirement Mike was one of the founding members of the Southeast Alaska Land Trust (SEAL Trust) serving for a time as its president and participating in many land acquisitions including the Olsen Arboretum. He reluctantly left SEAL Trust as his disease progressed.

After retirement Mike participated with several others in writing a multi-volume chronicle of the 50 year cross channel rivalry between Douglas and Juneau on the basketball court, titled "Douglas vs. Juneau." He also authored a book on the 1957 National Guard crash in Gustavus, "Crash of Alaska Air National Guard C-47D". Based upon research he did, his interviews with experts in aviation and prior research by others the work provides a detailed analysis of the probable cause of the accident.

Twice Mike traveled to Europe and took occasional trips to the lower forty-eight and Hawaii. But his heart was in Southeast Alaska so throughout his adult life Mike could be found rambling in the forests or climbing Juneau's mountains and peaks with various human and canine companions; spending time with friends and family in Kimshan Cove on Chichagof Island or paddling the waters of this land he loved so much. He had a host of companions on these ventures including his wife, old friends from his childhood neighborhood, new friends, relatives and anyone who was game to go along. He planned those wonderful adventures with great care to ensure that good times and many awe inspiring moments were always the fare. Wonderful memories abound for all who were the lucky travelers with Mike Grummett.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents Stanley and Grace Grummett.

Mike is survived by his wife, DeeAnn; sons Terry, Ken and Jeff Grummett; grandchildren Michael and Abby Grummett; brother Roger Grummett and sister-in-law Karleen; niece, Stacy Grummett (Cary Sedgwich ); nephew John Grummett; grandnephews Jack and George Grummett and Mitchell Henderson; mother-in-law Enid Hardman; sister-in-law Janice Hardman; nephew Nathan Lystrup; brother-in-law Dennis Hardman and sister-inlaw Nancy Hardman; niece Rose Hardman and nephew Kyle Hardman.

A burial service took place at Holy Trinity Church on November 1. A celebration of Mike's life will be held in the summer of 2017 which will be preceded by a formal announcement to the public.

Donations in Mike's honor may be made to the Zach Gordon Teen Club; 396 Whittier St. Juneau, Ak 99801 or Southeast Alaska Land Trust; 119 Seward St., Ste 15, Juneau, Ak 99801

Special thanks go to his mother-in-law Enid Hardman and Sister-in-law, Janice Hardman who traveled to Juneau and elsewhere over the last years to help care for Mike; to Mike Blackwell; to Whitney Bodily a personal care attendant for Mike in Idaho and Alaska and to Cornerstone Home Care. Thanks also to Nina Kinney and Jackie Damon; and to Father Gordon Blue and others from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church for invaluable assistance.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Nov. 11 to Dec. 11, 2016
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