Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Cleo McMahan

Cleo McMahan

Cleo McMahan was born on a farm in Kansas in 1912 and he came to Alaska in 1939 on the SS Yukon. He started flying while living in Fairbanks in the early 1940's. He married his wife Daphne in the 1940's and they homesteaded on Meier's Lake in the Copper River Basin near Gakona, Alaska. They came into Gakona in the winter so the kids could go to school, but in the summer Cleo worked as a big game guide, bush pilot, and bounty hunter. He trapped year round and loved flying. His daughter, Sally McMahan Pollen, wrote a book about him called Papa Was a Bush Pilot. Cleo McMahan died in 2005. For more about Cleo, see his obituary in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper or read an article about him in the Juneau Empire newspaper from 2001.

Date of Birth:
Sep 24, 1912
Date of Death:
Jul 30, 2005
Cleo McMahan appears in the following new Jukebox projects: