“If at some point you don’t find yourself asking, ‘What the hell am I doing here? I want to go home,’ Then it’s not an adventure.”
Michael David Blackaller’s life was an adventure. Born to Rita and David Blackaller on July 7, 1951 in Idaho Falls, Mike was the kind of child who was always on the move. He was a joy to his mother who loved him dearly even when his curiosity led him to dip the neighbors cat in a bucket of paint.
Because his dad was an Episcopal minister, Mike’s family travelled a lot, and he lived for a short while in Idaho Falls, Caldwell, Boston and even Bermuda before settling in Boise. He attended Boise High School and spent uncountable days climbing and exploring Boise’s foothills, but it was at NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School, that his love of nature and his thirst for adventure flourished. The mountains became a central part of his life. He was a climber, a skier, backpacker, and mountaineer. He spent many years teaching those skills and his love of the outdoors to others, working as a climbing and ski instructor in Idaho and Washington, and as a guide on Mount Rainier.
He lived in a teepee for four years. That’s the kind of guy he was.
But Mike’s love of adventure was tempered by a strong sense of responsibility and a desire to be of service. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, and he did. He attended Pacific Lutheran University for a short time studying psychology and doing research on Celebes Apes at the Seattle Zoo before transferring to Evergreen State College where he completed his bachelor’s degree in preparation for a career in vocational rehabilitation.
When he returned to Boise, he married Sheri Archer and became a father to their three children, Dwayne, Jeff, and Camden. He worked as a counselor for the Idaho Commission for the Blind where he would teach life skills to the visually impaired for nearly forty years. His love of his kids matched his love of the outdoors, and he worked tirelessly to support them his entire life.
He met Marylyn Luna, his perfect life partner and travelling companion in 1993. It was true love. Together they went on adventures far and wide: the Sawtooths, Rainier, the Tetons, the San Juan Islands, the West Coast Trail, Europe, RV trips to Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. They did it all. On one glorious July afternoon, they were married at his mother’s house on Whidbey Island.
Mike was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. He especially loved spending time with his grandkids and helping them discover their own adventures.
Mike’s latest adventure was with an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease, and while it slowly stripped him of his ability to move, it could never touch his love of life, family, and the great outdoors.
Mike is preceded in death by his father, David Blackaller, and his grandparents; and is survived by his mother Rita; his sisters, Doe Hubbard and Susan Johnson and their spouses Ned and Bill; his wife, Marylyn; his children, Dwayne, Jeff and Camden Blackaller and their spouses, Sarah, Kathleen and Cody; his step-daughter, Sarah Hietala; his sister and brothers-in-law Mike, Pattie and Mark; his six grandchildren, Parker, Hannah, Jordan, Jack, Collin, and Penny; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and his dear friends, Jeff, Kim, and Nancy.
Services will be held at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival outdoor amphitheater on Saturday, May 14 at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers please donate to your favorite local charity.
“It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.”
- Spell of the Yukon, Robert Service.
1951 ~ 2016