Mitchell "Mickey" Julius Prescott, May 24, 1940 - September 28, 2023
October 11, 2023
Mickey Prescott has gone fishing. Mitchell "Mickey" Julius Prescott was born on May 24, 1940, and died in Wrangell at his fish camp, Mickey's Fish Camp, on Sept. 28, 2023. He was 83 years old. Mickey was born in Everett, Washington, to Wrangellites Ralph and Edith Prescott (Johnson).
Mickey is survived by his favorite sister, Mercedes Angerman, and his seven adult children: Joy Prescott (Ed Bruns), Vivian Prescott (Howie Martindale), Tracey Martin Prescott (Dennis Martin), Vincent Prescott (Pamela Prescott), Kiply Clair (Robert Clair), Kim Prescott and Kelli Prescott. He leaves behind 15 beloved grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and 1.5 great-great grandchildren. He also leaves an island of nephews, a favorite niece and lots of cousins, plus his dearly loved dogs, his skiff, the Puddle Jumper, and his side-by-side, the Huckleberry.
Throughout his lifetime, Mickey was affectionately known as "Baby Brother," Daddy, Dad, Mitchell, Mick, Mickey, Uncle Mick, Grandpa Mickey, Grandpa Bear, Oompa and Grandpa Dog.
Mickey grew up in Wrangell, mostly on his dad's fishing boat the F/V Mercedes, and he attended public school through high school. He was a terrific basketball player in high school and an avid outdoorsman. He often pointed to the ocean and declared: "My church is out there."
Mickey remained friends with many of his classmates throughout life.
He married young and had four children, then married the love of his life, Kay Larson, and combined their families, and later had a child of their own. Together they raised seven children. His wife, Kay Prescott, preceded him in death in 2009.
Mickey spent most of his working career in the lumber and pulp mill industry that began with working the green chain and eventually he was the head of quality control, affording him the opportunity to travel to Japan and throughout the U.S. promoting the local mill.
He was also a commercial fisherman like his father, fishing the waters of Southeast Alaska on the F/V Irish. Later, he had an adventurous career in the U.S. Forest Service as a trail supervisor. Many of the outhouses, picnic tables and trails enjoyed on Wrangell Island and the surrounding Stikine-LeConte Wilderness were built by Mickey and his crew. If you walk those trails, you're walking in his footsteps. Mickey's friends from the crew remember him as "A great guy!" and "The best instructor!" and "He taught me all I know!" He dearly loved the crews who worked with him.
Mickey was an "early bird," whether at a Forest Service camp or on a hunting or fishing trip with friends. Mickey wanted to be the first one up in the morning to be out on the water or hunting in the woods. Often, he was up early, cooking a ranger breakfast for friends or crew.
When Mickey retired from the U.S. Forest Service, he went fishing. His family teased him about being a "King Salmon Snob" or the "King of Kings (but not Jesus)." He also loved driving the logging roads searching for scat and tracks and driving through town to check out life for the Wrangell Traffic Report for social media.
And every summer he and his family picked berries and spruce tips to donate to local Elders. Mickey was a big Seattle Mariners fan and enjoyed watching their baseball games on his big-screen TV. A highlight of his life was attending a Mariners game in Seattle with a daughter and son-in-law.
Mickey loved Wrangell and volunteered for several years, without fanfare, to plow snow with the Huckleberry on the bike path and parking areas along Zimovia Highway for local walkers, joggers and beachgoers. He always said, "Loving the outdoors doesn't stop when it's winter." Sometimes he plowed the sidewalks all the way to the Public Safety Building.
In his later years Mickey created art, though he claimed he wasn't artistic. He crafted walking sticks and burl art, designed seaglass art, made custom fishing plugs and deer calls, plus made jewelry from fishing gear. He was the subject of many articles for Planet Alaska, a column authored by a daughter and granddaughter that appeared in the Juneau Empire and culminated in a book, "My Father's Smokehouse." Many people across Alaska and beyond got to know him and his stories.
As per Mickey's wishes, his and his wife Kay's ashes will be spread together in a private ceremony. No memorial is planned for the public, but the family asks you to take time to go fishing in Mickey's honor. If you live on the ocean, go fishing in your best spot. If you live by a lake, toss a line in. If you live by a river, go fishing. If you live by a pond or a stream, cast in a line. And don't forget to eat some chocolate cake or a fried egg sandwich in Mickey's honor, too. "Put an egg on it," was his favorite saying.
Also, in lieu of flowers, please donate in his name to the Wrangell Mariners' Memorial.
Throughout his life, Mickey gifted us with fishing stories, mill stories, Forest Service stories, and stories about life in Wrangell and Southeast Alaska growing up in the 1940s and 1950s. His stories held the wisdom that makes life in Wrangell a richer place to be. The following poem was written by Mickey Prescott in his late 70s after getting hearing aids for the first time. It contains some wisdom he'd want to pass on to everyone:
Stop the Shouting and Listen to the Sunset
I guess I've been missing this most,
if not all my life, to hear sounds
I've never heard before.
It's a new world
to hear the rain
to hear the wind
to hear the waves
to hear the birds
to hear people talking,
to hear them walking,
to hear the fish flopping,
to hear the hooters hooting.
To hear the dogs barking,
it scares me each time.
But to think how much I missed
with my children
and great grandchildren.
Maybe this is why
I'm still here!
So stop the shouting
and listen to the sunset.