John Michael Appleton (more commonly known as “Mike” or “Apple”) passed away December 18, 2021 in the home he built in Cordova, Alaska. His celebration of life will be on June 10 at 4 p.m. at the Pioneer Igloo. 

Mike was born in Madison, Wisconsin on March 7, 1957 to George Sanders Appleton Sr. and Betty Louise Appleton, joining siblings Diane and George.

Mike grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois. He was known for being intelligent, happy and mischievous, traits he carried with him through life. He spent much of his youth traveling throughout Europe with his family while his father worked as vice president for Abbott’s Agricultural and Veterinary Products Division.

Mike went to college for a year after high school but found he had an appetite for learning that only the open road could satiate. Having traveled extensively at a young age, he craved the unconventional and unknown, so he left for the open road.

He did some ranching in Montana, honed his diving skills in the Caymans, and then hitchhiked to Alaska. He landed a logging job in Juneau, and then took up odd jobs in Anchorage. He proudly attended the first and only Grateful Dead concert at West Highschool. After some time there, his buddy Mike Pullman told him about some great fishing in an off-the-beaten-path town. Mike headed down to Cordova, and there he stayed.

Mike worked on trails in Cordova and helped develop Pipeline Lake Trail. He lived at Hippy Cove, and he proudly served as the mayor of the Cove for a period of time. He worked at a sawmill at Cabin Lake, and put his diving skills to use doing the roe on kelp fishery. He participated in dive and long line fisheries throughout the mid 80s and 90s.


Mike met Cindy in Cordova in 1984. They married in 1989 and brought their three children into the world, who were his absolute pride and joy. He cleared and built their home on an acre of paradise out Whitshed.

His full obituary ran in the Oct. 7 issue of the Cordova Times.