Michael W. Rooney, 88, passed away of natural causes with his family in attendance on Aug. 28, 2021, in Haines, Alaska.
Mike was born to Clark Patrick Rooney and Florence Louise Henderson in Minneapolis, Minn., on July 24, 1933. He graduated from Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, Okla., in 1953 with a degree in meteorology.
Promptly upon graduation, Mike moved “out West” to Laramie, where he resided until 1968 before moving his family to Haines, Alaska. The family (Mike, wife Patti, and daughters, Michelle and Cheryl) lived on Soapsuds Alley in Fort William H. Seward in the Haines Borough when his son Sean was born in 1969.
Mike worked at the Jones Point sawmill for Alaska Forest Products and briefly for Schnabel Lumber Company before moving to Cody, Wyo. in 1973 where he lived for 46 years. He worked at Cody Lumber for over 35 years as head-sawyer.
Mr. Rooney’s well-balanced life philosophy was influenced by his Christian faith and writer Henry David Thoreau. He was devoted to spending time in the outdoors hiking and hunting in the backcountry of northwest Wyoming.
Landscape and wildlife photography were great loves. September and October days were spent photographing bugling elk, and winters were filled capturing images of head-banging bighorn sheep. His children fondly recall being taught by their father how to belly-crawl through prickly-pear cactus on the windy Wyoming prairie stalking antelope.
Mike’s children remember him as a man who taught a strong work ethic through example. He was not a “rich” man in terms of material possessions, but was invariably charitable to helping meet the needs of the homeless and hungry.
Friends, Bob and Debbie Burichka, remember seeing Mike frequently on his bicycle with “his helmet on and beard flapping in the wind.” Mike was a quiet man who, in the words of his son, Sean, “didn’t feel a need to fill up space with jabber.”
In a remembrance book left for his grandson, Erik Stickler, Mike advised, “Take your children to church. Don’t just send them.” Mike took his children to church throughout their formative years, and “church” was held many Sundays in the hills and on the trails in the Cody area.
He spent his last two years with son-in-law and daughter, Robin and Cheryl Stickler in Haines.
Michael Rooney is predeceased by his parents and Patrick Clark Rooney (brother).
Surviving family members include Michelle Accairi (John), Cheryl Stickler (Robin), and, Sean Rooney (Jamie). He had seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.