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Longtime Gustavus resident Steve Ray Wilson died Aug. 13, 2007, in a plane crash 40 miles north of Arctic Village in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while hunting Dahl sheep. He was 41.
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He was born Nov. 13, 1965, in Juneau. He lived in Juneau several years until his family moved to Haines, later to Anchorage, and then to Gustavus in 1971. He attended the Gustavus School through grade school. He graduated from Cedaredge High School in Colorado in 1983. There was not a high school in Gustavus at that time.
At 18, he earned his private pilot's license. He started flying commercially for Skagway Air, then flew for various air taxies out of Juneau. Later, he founded and operated Air Excursions, based in Gustavus. He later sold Air Excursions and later operated a single pilot company, Wilson Air, also based in Gustavus.
His flying career took him all over the United States. Last winter, he flew for a company in Key West, Fla. He was an avid hunter of Alaska big game and had hunted all over the state. One year, he won the big buck contest for northern Southeast. Steve enjoyed running, especially running the Klondike Trail Race with the Gustavus team. He also played softball every summer with the Gustavus team, which competed in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, this year.
He will be missed by all, said his family.
He is survived by his two children, Mickey Wilson of Skagway and Gustavus, and Brandy Wilson of Fairbanks; parents, Eldon and Rita Wilson, of Gustavus; sister, Lori Ortega and family, of Gustavus and Juneau; uncle, Bud Wilson of Gustavus; and friend and companion, Lexa Meyer.
A memorial service for Steve will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Fjord Flying Service hangar at the Gustavus Airport.