Michael Slater Cline
Aug. 30, 1937 – Feb. 3, 2018
Michael Slater Cline, 80, died Feb. 3, 2018, while vacationing in Maui, Hawaii.
Mike was born in Seattle, Washington, on Aug. 30, 1937 to Michael L. Cline and Lois Ruth Slater Cline. He grew up in Bellingham, Washington, where his great grandfather Slater homesteaded in Whatcom County. He attended schools in Bellingham and graduated from Bellingham High School. He earned bachelor’s degrees from Western Washington State College and a masters degree from Central Washington State College. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology.
Mike was a veteran of the U. S. Air Force Reserve. He taught school and coached in Lake Stevens, Washington, before he came to Alaska in 1964 to teach in the Alaska bush. He taught and was an administrator in several bush schools including Huslia, Anaktuvuk Pass, Tanana and Noorvik. Mike met his wife, Dotty, when they both worked with the Alaska Rural Teacher Training Corps to train teachers for cross-cultural teaching in rural Alaska. In Noorvik Mike was asked by the village people to be the principal of their first high school.
Mike was the author of articles that were published in The Alaska Sportsman and The Alaska Magazine among other publications. He was also the author of two books, “Tannik School: The Impact of Education on the Eskimos of Anaktuvuk Pass,” and a children’s book, “Bear Hunter,” based on Athabaskan children in Huslia.
He was an avid outdoorsman. He loved hunting, fishing, gardening and working with his John Deere tractor. Mike was an accomplished photographer, and one of his photos was purchased and published by The National Geographic. His photos chronicle his many travels around the world with his wife, Dotty, as well as the view from their home on Kachemak Bay.
Mike was a master storyteller who captivated his listeners with stories of his many hunts, his cross-cultural living and his world travels. He passed along stories told to him by his Native Alaskan friends.
Mike’s family was his greatest joy. He took great pride in his children, Kelly and Erin, and loved spending time with his seven grandchildren, reading to them, telling them stories, teaching them to fish and love nature, and asking them questions.
He was a “sponge for learning” who always asked questions and stimulated others to search for answers, a quality that made him a good teacher. He had a special gift for helping students who were struggling, as he remembered doing when he was a child.
He was an active member of the Kachemak Bay Rotary Club, the Pioneers of Alaska and the Homer United Methodist Church where he served as church historian for many years.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his mother and father-in-law, Alma and Herbert Roberts.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Dorothy “Dotty” Cline of Homer; his son, Kelly Slater Cline, daughter-in-law Jamie Harmon, and their children Alma, Timothy, Kyle, and Rowan of Helena, Montana; his daughter Erin May Cline, son-in-law Michael Slater, and their children Patrick, Bridget, and Siobhan of Rockville, Maryland; brother Tom Cline of Lacey, Washington, and many other family members and close friends.
Donations in Mike’s memory may be made to the Mike Cline Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o First National Bank of Alaska.