Word came this week about the deaths of pilot Cliff Hudson, 84, and journalist John Strohmeyer, 85.
Hudson was one of those Alaskans who defines this place. Mountain and bush pilot superb, he was a quiet man as legends go. Almost 30 years ago I wrote a story about him and had the good fortune to take a flight to Ruth Glacier with him. He told, in a matter-of-fact way, about rescue flights he'd made, and how he'd keep an eye on folks in remote places. His were very good wings to have on your side.
Strohmeyer helped to define Alaska too, after coming here to fill the Atwood journalism chair at UAA. He tackled big stories -- the oil industry, Bob Atwood, fishing. He had a powerful passion for Alaska, even while wintering his old bones in Florida. He wrote a column for the Daily News for a few years. He tended to write long -- editor's bane -- but he was hard to cut. That testified to the quality of his work.
They lived different lives, but both men did work that will long outlast them. And it was good work.