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Michael Martin "Mike" Silva ( Redding 1972 )

posted: Nov 25, 2023

Mike, 74, died November 8, 2023, after a short battle with cancer. Mike was born in Red Bluff, California, September 24, 1949. He was a rodeo cowboy from an early age which served him well as he became a member of the Rodeo Team for Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. After graduating from Cal Poly in 1972, Mike was offered the opportunity of jumping out of perfectly good airplanes as a smokejumper and wildland firefighter. Smokejumping eventually brought him to Alaska in 1974. Mike was as tough as the bulls he rode and one heck of a smokejumper. He was also a man of many talents. Mike enjoyed flying high in his little red Taylorcraft. He also loved to hunt and fish with his girls as well as hike, camp and float the Chena. Mike jumped at Redding 1972, McCall 1973, and Fairbanks 1974-76, 78-80,1984-87.

Bros--Silva decided to move on today. For you younger guys who didn't know him, Mike rookied in RDD in '72, transferred to MYL in '73 where I first met him, and up to AK in '74. He rapidly moved up in the organization and was an excellent squadleader and spotter. In the mid-80s, he was one of our main air attack bosses, something he was particularly good at because of his bold personality. He was injured on a practice jump in about '86 or so, and moved into zone FMO positions, where he stayed, I believe until retirement. Mike was very strong both physically and mentally, had a fearless approach to whatever job he took on, and was always strict but fair with those who worked for him. Of Portuguese descent, he was long-legged, deep chested, and had thick, curly, black hair. He normally sported a wry, crooked smile and a ready laugh. Definitely one to remember.

Mike's wife, Patty, and daughter, Shayla, live in Fairbanks. Gary "Big Mac" McMurtrey (MYC-73), who passed on a few years back, was Shayla's godfather and is, no doubt, serving cheap beer and cooking up some gawd-awful, freezer-burned hot dogs at a lawn party for Mike as we speak. See you on the other side, Mikey. Save me a cubie by the campfire, Bro. Rod Dow