I am sure you will have a wealth of information about Mike Kirk and you may hear over and over how years after retiring from being a teacher, he was still a mentor - he was with my children. I met him about 13-14 years ago through a mutual acquaintance at the time and was invited to brunch at the Prospector. I must have passed the test, as I was told that Mike thought I was "articulate" and our friendship began. Soon, my two children who were 10 & 7 at the time also joined the mix. He became a part of our family and quietly supported my clumsy and struggling efforts as a single parent in Juneau. He was supportive when I remarried and knew my husband's family quite well and deeply respected Ross' father. He was a regular guest at our house for dinners and the kids were always excited to be invited to brunch at the Prospector with Mike. He was gentle, encouraging, and responsive to my children and never talked down to them. He encouraged them to think and pursue their ideas and interests and always followed up with them on their interests when we got back together. He brought them books to encourage their ideas. Thomas received history books, Lydia received books on culture and animals. He listened to me when I expressed personal concerns about parenting, he was reassuring.
Mike taught Thomas and Lydia how to think and communicate their ideas, especially to adults. His influence in our lives was real and deep and our household craved it. This was the gift he gave my small disjointed family at a challenging time that we were able to share for years as our household grew and became more stable. Thomas graduated two years ago from college and is teaching English in Russia. Lydia is in her last year of college studying Biology and Anthropology and spent the summer working on a graduate thesis project related to political ecology. We were able to sit with him at Wildflower Court days before he passed as a family with others in the room. We talked about the world, and our fears, as he floated in and out of the conversation. Mike raised the question of Socrates and justice, our last conversation together, continuing to challenge and encourage us to learn, think, and communicate.
Jane Lindsey, Ross Soboleff, Thomas Mills, Lydia Mills