Linious "Mac" McGee

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Linious Mac McGee
Born 1897
Francesville, Indiana
Died June 13, 1988
Reno, Nevada
Nationality American
Occupation Airline entrepreneur, Miner, Truck driver, Dishwasher, Fur buyer
Known for Founder of McGee Airways, Anchorage, Alaska 1932

Linious "Mac" McGee (1897 – June 13, 1988) was an Alaskan aviation pioneer and founder of McGee Airways, which, through a long series of mergers and acquisitions became Alaska Airlines.[1][2]


McGee was born in Francesville, Indiana.[3] In his early years he worked in his grandfather’s bank in a small Montana town, then spent some time in Alaska working in the mines. He returned to Montana and tried homesteading near Livingston, Montana but went broke.[4]

In 1929, in the midst of the Great Depression, with no money or prospects, he sneaked aboard the SS Aleutian steamship and made the trip to Seward, Alaska as a stowaway. He went to Anchorage and worked for the Standard Oil Distributor driving a delivery truck.[4] He then started a fur trading business using dog teams and chartered airplanes to travel throughout the area buying furs.[4] He needed his own airplane in order to reach Alaska's remote villages. In 1931 he partnered with Harvey W. Barnhill,[2][5] an early day Alaska bush pilot to purchase a three-seat Stinson airplane from Varney Airlines in San Francisco.[2] They shipped the plane to Alaska on a steamship and founded Barnhill & McGee Airways in Anchorage.[4]

Although "Mac" learned to fly, his primary interest was in business management and organization.[4] In about 1932, McGee bought Barnhill’s interest in the company, purchased another Stinson airplane[4] and founded McGee Airways,[3] which was one of the first air services in Anchorage. McGee Airways grew into a fleet of seven black and silver Stinson airplanes.[2] In 1934 he sold the company to Star Air Service a rival company in Anchorage for $50,000 and managed the combined operation for several years before going into mining.[2][4] Star Air Service became financially unstable after McGee left, and he was called back to manage the company again.[2][4]

After leaving Star for the last time, he returned to mining, and retired to the "lower 48." He died in Reno, Nevada in 1988.[2][3] McGee Airways became part of Star Air Service which through a long series of mergers and acquisitions became Alaska Airlines in 1944.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Mac McGee The Beginnings". Company History. Alaska Airlines – Horizon Group. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  2. ^ a b c Bagoy, John P. (2001). Legends & Legacies Anchorage 1910-1935. S.l.: Publications Consultants. ISBN 1-888125-91-8. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Satterfield, Archie (1981). The Alaska Airlines Story. Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, Anchorage, Alaska. ISBN 0-88240-165-3. 
  4. ^ Anchorage Centennial Commission Aviation Committee (1967). Honoring 100 Alaska Bush Pilots. Alaska Purchase Centennial 1867-1967, Anchorage Centennial Commission. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Alaska Airlines: General Information and History, Seattle: Alaska Airlines, 1992.
  • Alaska Airlines, Archie Satterfield (1981). The Alaska Airlines Story. (Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Pub. Co., 207 p.). Alaska Airlines—History. ISBN 978-0-88240-164-5
  • Robert J. Serling, Character & Characters: The Spirit of Alaska Airlines (Seattle: Documentary Media LLC, 2008), 492 pp., hardback, ISBN 978-1-933245-11-9
  • Robert W. Stevens D.D.L. (1989). Alaskan Aviation History. (Des Moines, IA: Polynyas Press, 1095 pp., hardback 2 volume set). ISBN 0-929427-01-7

External links[edit]