Longtime Alaska resident O.J. "Mac" McGann died Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002, after a month-long stay in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 85.
Mr. McGann was cremated and buried next to his wife of 60 years, Ella Mae, at the Veteran Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, Nev.
McGann arrived in Alaska in the summer of 1951. Along with his best friend, Pete Manning, he built TIPS Bar in Eagle River. In 1953, McGann and his wife built Eagle River Grocery and Liquor, and continued to live in Eagle River until 1959.
Shortly after Alaska became a state in 1959, the McGann family moved to the Kenai Peninsula and built the Happy Valley Bar. Their homestead was the site of the Happy Valley Rodeo for more that 30 years. McGann was a union electrician who worked all across Alaska. Following the 1964 earthquake, McGann worked continuously for more than 100 hours to restore power to the refineries in Nikiski.
"His birthday was St. Patrick's Day, and being of good Irish stock he made sure that everyone got the opportunity to celebrate it with him," said his family.
His favorite hobbies were salmon fishing at Deep Creek or Anchor River and trolling for halibut in Cook Inlet.
He is survived by his son, Patrick Joseph McGann; daughter-in-law, Carol Carter; daughter, Colleen Catherine McGann-Wood; grandchildren Stephanie Wood-Russell, Lainie McGann and Michael McGann; and great-granddaughter Hailee Welch.
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