Park Munsey became a pilot in the late fifties, and in the 1960s, he started Amook Airways, a small air-charter business. His wife, Pat, was his dispatcher, and their home in Amook Pass was their base of operations. Park not only flew his hunting clients, but he also flew for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and delivered mail and supplies around the island. Over the years, he owned an Aeronca Champ, a Tri-Pacer, a Cessna 180, a Cessna 185, a Twin Seabee, and a Grumman Widgeon.
Park bought the Tri-Pacer in 1961, and that winter, he, Pat, and the children flew in it from Kodiak to New Hampshire to visit relatives. In preparation for the long flight, Pat got her pilot’s license, so she could help with the flying. When the Munseys reached New Hampshire, they presented the governor of that state with a gift from Bill Egan, the governor of Alaska.
Pat remembers one harrowing day when the crankshaft broke on Park’s Cessna 185, and he was forced to land on Olga Bay in heavy seas. The hard impact of the landing caused the floats to rupture, and as the floats filled with water, the plane flipped upside down, and Park climbed onto the floats. When he didn’t return home and didn’t call on the radio, Pat contacted the Coast Guard, reported him overdue, and braced herself for the worst. As the waves lapped over the pontoons, the floats slowly filled with water, and by the time the Coast Guard arrived, they found Park straddling the sinking floats, writing a last letter to his wife and children.
Park sold his last plane, the Grumman Widgeon, in the mid 1970s, and he and Pat began spending winters in Hawaii. Mike purchased Munsey’s Bear Camp from his parents in 1980, but Park continued to guide bear hunters during the spring and fall hunts.
Never content to sit idle, Park bought a boat in Hawaii and started a SCUBA diving business. He taught SCUBA classes, and he and his boat could be
chartered for diving trips. In 1982, Park competed in the famous Iron Man Triathlon in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and finished eighth in his age bracket. The following spring, at the age of 54, he collapsed while guiding a bear hunter out of an interior-lake camp near Spiridon Bay. He died a few days later from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Pat remarried in 1984, and she and her husband, Wally, still live in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, where Pat works in real estate. This summer (2015), Pat, Wally, Toni, Patti, Jeri, Bob, Peggy, spouses and several grandkids all visited our Amook Pass home, where we celebrated Pat’s 85th birthday.