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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.