Merrill Hughes

Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Former Juneau resident Merrill Hughes, 65, of Anchorage died of natural causes Sept. 14, 2000, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital after being medivaced to Fairbanks from a moose hunting camp.

Hughes was born on March 4, 1935 to Lowell D. & Thelma (Marsh) Hughes in Page County, Iowa. He was raised in Oregon and graduated from Corvallis High in 1954. He enlisted in the Army in 1955 and was transferred to Fort Richardson in 1956, fulfilling his childhood dream to come to Alaska. In May of 1957, he sent for and married his high school sweetheart Marlis Ann Brandt at Anchorage Lutheran Church.

In the army he received specialized training as a helicopter mechanic and later attended specialized helicopter schools in the United States and France. After his discharge from the army he was employed by Polar Helicopters of Anchorage and Livingston Copters of Corvallis and Juneau. He moved with his family permanently to Juneau in 1962. In 1985 they relocated to Anchorage where he retired from ERA Aviation in 1995.

Hughes received many awards and recognition for his work on helicopters including being named Mechanic of the Year in 1974 by the Helicopter Association of America.

After retiring he enjoyed bird watching, gardening with his wife, repairing anything that didn't fly and especially restoring old ATVs and than "test driving them with his grandchildren.

Hughes was preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law Luella Cox.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years Marlis Ann of Anchorage, his daughters and their families, Roberta and Neil McLean and children Matt, Alan, and Hector of Christmas Valley, Ore.; Betty Robards and Rosey, Jason, Gladys, and Natalie of Anchorage; Sandi and Forrest Messerschmidt and Sam and Laurel of Juneau; and Marilyn & Westley Reed and Chet & Brianna of Smyrna, Tenn.; his brothers and sisters and their spouses, Virgil & Susie Hughes, Melvin & Patsy Hughes, Doyle & Harriet Hughes, Donella & Nick Ol'heiser, Zeeta & Dick Klotzbach, extended family members and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial Services will be held in Juneau 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at Faith Lutheran Church, 2500 Sunset Drive and in Albany, Ore. at Good Shepherd Lutheran on Oct. 7. Services were held in Anchorage, on September 23.

Memorial donations may be made to Anchor Lutheran School, 8100 Arctic Blvd. Anchorage, AK 99518.

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