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In Memorandum

Mike Kalenik

In Loving Memory of Mike Kalenik 2/12/47-2/13/14

Michael Peter Kalenik passed away on 2/13/14 at his home on the Salmon River outside Clayton, ID.

Mike was born on February 12, 1947 in Sacramento, CA to Peter Kalenik and Daisy Wortman Kalenik. He spent most of his youth in the Sacramento area. Mike joined the US Air Force in 1967 and was stationed with the Cobra Unit at PhuKat Vietnam in 1968. He was “Radar” for his unit. After the service, he pursued a degree in Environmental Science minoring in History graduating from California Statein Sacramento in 1972.


He worked as a backwoods ranger for Sequoia National Park and then as a California State Park ranger stationed at Lake Oroville, Prairie State Redwoods, and Bodega Bay where he went into maintenance. He was a great teacher, storyteller, self- taught taxidermist, scout master. He was always interested in nature and wildlife and loved sharing his knowledge and skills with school kids, tourists and others. He became a water quality specialist and helped design and build water systems. History being another passion , he helped the Maidu Indians restore an ancient village.

Around 1990, Mike retired and moved to Central Idaho, retrained in electronics, and started his satellite/TV business in Custer Co. He was in a hunting and fishing paradise

He married several times. In 1971 his son Christopher was born. Then his daughter Sara from a later union. In late 1997 he met the love of his life Cheryl Miller. They married on January 1, 1998. They built their dream home near the banks of his treasured Salmon River.

Always interested in history, in 2005, Mike was elected as president of the Clayton Area Historical Association. He had a vision to purchase and restore the old company store in Clayton and turn it into a museum. He wrote grants for the first time. The board of directors followed his lead. On July 4, 2007 the Clayton Museum opened. More grants were written. The museum expanded. In 2008, the museum received the Preservation Society of Idaho’s Orchid Award.

Mike is survived by his wife, Cheryl, his son Christophe r(Jessica-Vallejo, CA), daughter Sara (Keenan-Palmer, Alaska), stepdaughters Ericka and Kiersten Miller-Portland, OR, father Peter Kalenik-Oregon City, OR, sisters Linda Deis (Bob-Santa Rosa, CA) and Cindy Newhall (Ron-Sacramento, CA), many nieces and nephews and extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother Daisy Holden and stepmother Ruth Kalenik.

If you choose, please make memorial contributions to the Clayton Area Historical Association, PO BX 1, Clayton, ID 83227.

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Local Recollections and Thoughts from Mike
I moved here 20 years ago to get away from California. I was looking for a place where the people still spoke english. When I moved here there was a popular t-shirt that said " Welcome To Idaho-- Set Your Clock Back 25 Years" What impressed me the most is the ability to sit down with someone, usually over a cup of coffee, and you might bullshit for 45 minutes and never even find out their name. 

I, having moved here from California, was surprised that people went into the grocery store to do their shopping in the middle of winter. They would leave the keys in the vehicle and the engine running to keep the vehicle warm upon their return and the vehicle would still be there when they returned. I grew out of the habit of locking my doors cause things like that just do not happen here. Clayton is a small town, 26 is what it says on the population sign.

I have never seen any other community with more pride and community spirit than Clayton. Everything that gets done here is by a dedicated group of volunteers. We might be small but we are friendly. 

Clayton is situated on the north side of the Salmon River, between Challis and Stanley, on the Salmon River Scenic Byway--State Highway 75. Our annual July 4th celebration would put any big city to shame. The Box Car Derby, The Fireman's Ball, Cabin Fever Night and other small town events are all combined to make this one of the best places on earth that you will ever find.... Mike Kalenik

Mike Kalenik