Linious "Mac" McGee

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Linious McGee
BornMarch 23, 1897
Francesville, Indiana
DiedJune 13, 1988(1988-06-13) (aged 91)
Reno, Nevada
Other namesMac McGee
OccupationAirline entrepreneur, Miner, Truck driver, Dishwasher, Fur buyer
Known forFounder of McGee Airways, Anchorage, Alaska 1932

Linious McGee (March 23, 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 on March 23, 1897.[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]

He died on June 13, 1988 in Reno, Nevada.


  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.