Lifelong Douglas resident Rudolph C. Pusich, 86, died May 17, 2005, peacefully at his home.
He was born Feb. 10, 1919, in Douglas. He was the eldest son of Mike and Anna Pusich.
As a young man, he worked at the Independence and FE Mines. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the war and later in the Juneau Army National Guard. While on leave in Seattle, he met Mary Carr. They were married on May 1, 1948, in Whitefish Bay, Wis., and returned to their Douglas home. He was an accomplished pilot and opened the Channel Flight School, one of the area's first.
He continued in his father's footsteps and went on to make the family restaurant, Mike's Place, in Douglas a historic landmark. His patrons became his friends and they fondly remember him "for his tireless work ethic, wit and humor." The restaurant remained his family's business until 2003, at which time he turned the tradition over to the Kasnick family, as the Island Pub.
He served on the Douglas City Council and was involved in numerous organizations, including the Elks, Douglas Volunteer Fire Department, Pioneers of Alaska, Lions Club and the Knights of Columbus. He was an avid fisherman. The family spent any free time dragging their lines at his favorite fishing spot, Doty's Cove. In 1961, he was a Golden North Salmon Derby winner. He held the honor of fishing in every Salmon Derby since its inception, and had been a co-derby chair. He was also the proud winner of the Nenana Ice Classic.
His biggest accomplishment was his family; the couple raised eight children.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Helen; and his brother, Mickey.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; his children, Richard and his wife Lois, Butch, Anna Margaret Rear and her husband John, Mary Kay and her husband Kelly Corrigan, Sharon Gill and her husband Ken, Michael and his wife Shannon, Pat and his wife Maizie, and Lisa Pusich; his grandchildren, Rick, Chris, Kelly Anne, Shane, Shannon, Brendan, Lauren, Allyson, Luke, Kevin and Marissa; his four great-grandchildren; his sisters, Grace Russo and her husband Guy, and Anne Lafavour; and his brothers Larry and his wife Nellie, and Louie and his wife Doreen.
A celebration of life will be 2 p.m. May 21, at the Cathedral of the Nativity with a reception following at St. Ann's Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Shrine of St. Therese, Hospice and Home Care, or the Alaska Chapter of the American Cancer Society.