Michael Lawrence Zagars

Posted: Friday, June 06, 2008

Former Juneau resident Michael Lawrence Zagars died May 31, 2008, in Wasilla. He was 49.

Born March 29, 1959, in Juneau, to Richard and Sheila Zagars, he attended schools in Juneau, graduating with the class of 1977. After attending Western State University in Gunnison, Colo., he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 1983 to 1986.

After leaving the Air Force, he moved to Kotzebue, where he married Arlene Sampson and fathered his two children, Michael Jr. and Anthony. In 1988, the Zagars moved to Wasilla. He first wife passed away in 2001.

He met his current wife, Reinhilde Graham, in 2005. They were married May 27, 2008.

According to his family, he was an exceptional athlete from preschool until his death, excelling in skiing and track. In his senior year at Juneau High School, he held the Southeast Alaska high jump record and the state record triple-jump, which stood for about 18 years.

He was a self-employed, skilled carpenter. While working in Kotzebue, he enjoyed the challenge of dog-mushing with 26 dogs in his kennel.

He was best known among his many friends as an outgoing, happy, generous friend and neighbor, always willing to be helpful, his family said. He was active with his sons as an assistant coach for track and football, never missing a meet or game.

"If there were more Mikes on the planet, it would be a more beautiful world," his family said.

He is survived by his wife, Reinhilde Zagars; parents, Richard and Sheila Zagars, of Juneau; two sons, Michael Lawrence Zagars Jr. and Anthony Steven Zagars; stepchildren, Daniel Graham and Sara Graham; brother, Christopher W. Zagars; sisters, Carrie Jo Rehfeld and Celia M. Zagars; aunt, Mollie Jo Buschfort; brother, Walter Rogers and his wife, Myrtis; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wasilla. Interment will be at 1 p.m. Monday at Fort Richardson National Cemetery. Friends are invited to the service and reception at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to the Zagar Family Memorial Account at Wells Fargo.

Valley Funeral Homes & Crematory of Wasilla and Palmer is assisting the family.

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