World traveler, entrepreneur, author, prospector, inventor, husband, father and friend. Michael “Mike” Powers, 79, of Kellogg, Idaho passed away on December 12, 2017 at the Shoshone Medical Center in Kellogg. He was born February 2, 1938 at the Moody Home in Kellogg, Idaho to Georgia Hunt Powers. His early childhood was spent up the Little North Fork River. He attended school at Linfor and Kingston before attending and graduating from Kellogg High School. Mike went on to furthered his education at the University of Montana where he received a football scholarship. He also attended Western Washington State College however his education did not stop here. Mike continued to learn new things throughout his life time showing interest in a vast variety of things.
Mike enlisted and served in the United States Navy. He traveled all around the world while serving on three different ships. After serving abroad in the Navy for four years Mike returned home and headed north to Alaska on his next adventure.
Some of his fondest memories were tramping across the country working a total of 40 different types of jobs in one year and especially time spent working on the DEW line, in Barrow, Alaska and the many adventures he encountered while there. Including surviving the 1964 earthquake and being an Explorer Scouts Scoutmaster at Tok Junction and the carving into a beached whale to obtain ambergris which was quite valuable but the smell of the carcass was overpowering. He also slept in an igloo and being a guest he did not know they had to rub their bodies with blubber and sleep in urine cured hides which was quit the shock.
He also enjoyed his time in the Philippine Islands. He relayed lots of stories about Nacee and Narcine his house couple who cared and cooked for him some very unusual meals. He was never really sure of what he was eating but delicious none the less and when the neighbors came looking for their missing dog he grew a bit wary of the fare. He recalled strolling the streets to the sounds of, “balut, balut get your baluts” from the street venders who did a brisk business. He thought it to be an acquired taste not indulged in by many Americans. He once rode on the back of a massive water buffalo while wearing shorts and pith helmet. He was pitched off into a mud hole much to the delight of the onlookers. He became their hero. He spent time as a bartender and lounge singer innumerous night clubs and casinos in Manila. He was often the only American in some of these places but was well liked and referred to as Mr. Mike.
He had great times spent in Thule, Greenland, cold yet beautiful in contrast to swimming in the Persian Gulf.
He spoke often of the interesting time spent as Field Engineer, for the Bahaman government, and of the hauntingly beautiful sounds preceding the morning prayers radiating out of the mosque while in the Middle East and the perilous trips to the beach, taking your life in your hands to maneuver the streets teeming with uncontrolled drivers following no rules of the road. Visiting the gold souks to buy jewelry and coins and being completely surrounded by walls lined from top to bottom with gold jewelry. In the evening watching the bakers at their ancient ovens, sliding out rounds of tasty flat bread on their paddles and hurrying home to slather ghee on it while it was still warm and soft.
Hundreds of adventures, filled with unique life experiences and interesting people and different cultures.
Mike returned to the U.S. working for Bunker Hill as a journeyman maintenance electrician until it closed. He continued his writing and prospecting, mineral acquisition, mineral & title research, geological consulting, corporate structuring, legal forms and permitting, claim staking & mapping, surveying both mineral & timber lands.
Mike was a prolific writer having over the years written for The Mining Record, Denver, Colorado; The Western Mining News, Wallace Miner, Kellogg Evening News, North Idaho Press, and many others, plus independent submittals for New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Spokesman Review, Spokane Chronicle etc.
He also started the United American Tower Company while living in Spokane and he enjoyed running a gold panning exhibit at EXPO with his “Little Giant” sluice with its reversed riffle both of which he invented and patented.
Some of his best memories in the US were prospecting the Big Belts in Montana for Noranda and trying to make a mine of the Silverwave property near Helena. He tried more than once on the Silverwave mine, he and his last partner leasing it again in their older years, but some dreams have to die hard.
He loved gardening and growing a rose garden with special old fashioned starts gathered from friends. He unrelentingly foraged for apples, all wild fruits, mushrooms and medicinal plants making liquors, tenures and salves from many of these bounties. When gathering wild mushrooms he would always slice and share his find with the squirrels and chipmunks, impaling the pieces on branches as he had observed them doing. He was a good freehand artist, wood carver and seasonally would hunt for pitch stumps and hand split numerous bags of it to share with others who had wood heat. He liked going to Montana and roaming the hills prospecting and digging for sapphires. On one trip he found a 10 carat blue sapphire the first time working the Eldorado Bar dig.
There seemed to be no end to his varied interest and knowledge and until his health started failing, surviving cancer and then Alzheimer’s started taking its toll he was still learning and exploring.
After meeting his beloved wife Eve and joining the Beare clan he experienced the family life he had not known. He was loved and respected, valued and became a godsend to them as well. He added to their lives as they did to his. He co-parented and raised two daughters of the heart with unconditional love, Brandy (Roger) Davis and Crissy (Chad) Carlson. His greatest joy was being their dad and then a grandfather to Cortny, Madisen, Jasen, Tyler, Brittnie and a great-grandfather to Evelyn and Olivia. Mike also beamed with pride when talking about his nephew Johnny Powers who was like a son to him. Mike was preceded in death by his mother, four brothers and is survived by one.
Materially by most people’s standards he died a poor man but in his life lived on earth he felt he was the richest of men. He has come full circle from sitting on his grandfather’s knee and singing Danny Boy, to having his nephew Johnny return him home to the little North Fork to the same tune, entering heaven, ushered by angels.
Per his request there will be no public funeral.
One may sign Mike’s online guest book at www.shoshonefuneralservice.com
SHOSHONE FUNERAL SERVICES & CREMATORY KELLOGG, IDAHO is entrusted with cremation arrangements.