Gene F. Birky

Gene F. Birky

June 18, 1939 – March 12, 2019

Gene F. Birky died on March 12, 2019 in Anchorage.

He went to be with his Lord and Savior after a lengthy illness, with both of his sons and daughters-in-law by his side, the family wrote.

Gene was born June 18, 1939, in Kalispell, Montana to Harry and Naomi (Hoylman) Birky. He grew up in Kalispell with three younger siblings: Marilyn Waltner, Art Birky, and Ray Birky, all of Denver, Colorado.

He married Donna M. Liudahl of Lambert, Montana August 11, 1961. Gene’s passion for aviation caused him to apply for a pilot position with Northwest Airlines in 1962. His application was rejected due to a maximum height allowance of 6 feet, 4 inches. Saddened, he remained logging for another 12 years.

Gene moved his family, now including three children, to Homer, Alaska, in 1974, where he was involved with Alaska Bible Institute for 10 years. Never forgetting his love for aviation, Gene flew as a missionary pilot in several villages and flew spotting fish for commercial fishermen. Gene started a flight school in Homer and worked as an FAA Designated Examiner, as well as flying for SouthCentral Air.

At the age of 44, he finally realized his dream of flying large aircraft with MarkAir and then Lynden Air Transport. His employment took him to most airstrips in Alaska, and many distant locations including Egypt, Iceland, Indonesia and Japan. After retirement in 2004, Gene moved to Wasilla and enjoyed flying model airplanes with friends, ministering in small churches, and taking every opportunity to tell others about Jesus, whom he loved so much.

He is preceded in death by his parents, and his wife.

Gene leaves behind their three children; Gene S. Birky, (Melinda), David Birky (Janet), both of Anchorage, and Terena Ronan (Michael) of Newton, Kansas; seven grandchildren, Matthew Birky and Rachel Odom (Shaquille), Benjamin, Daniel, and Michael Birky, and Mariah and Sydney Ronan; and one great-grandchild, Olivia Odom.

A Celebration of Life is planned for 2 p.m. on June 22, 2019 at Northern Light Chapel, 7550 E. Palmer Wasilla Hwy. After the service, at Gene’s request, his ashes will be scattered over Visnaw Lake, where he last lived.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in memory of Gene to Alaska Bible Institute in Homer, Alaska or the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska.