Dr. Michael Beirne
Dr. Beirne was born in Towanda, Nov. 22, 1925. He graduated from Towanda High School in 1942, lettering in football. After graduation, he helped operate and manage the family farm near Liberty Corners before attending the University of Scranton. In 1951, Dr. Beirne received his medical degree from St. Louis University. After graduation, he returned to Sayre and interned under Dr. Donald Guthrie. Thereafter, Dr. Beirne served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and received additional medical training in pathology. After being honorably discharged from the Army in 1957, he and his family moved to Anchorage, Alaska where he established his home and practiced medicine for 54 years.
While in medical school, Dr. Beirne met Corinne Annabelle Roe of Eureka, Montana. They married in 1952 and produced seven children: two daughters, Beverly of Cathedral City, CA and Sally of Anchorage, AK and five sons, David Michael Beirne, of Cathedral City, CA, Dr. Mark Beirne, married to Maureen Tschirhart of Smyrna, GA, Paul Roe Beirne of New York City, Greg, married to Nga Kim Doan of Houston, TX and George Robert Beirne, married to Cindy West of Anchorage, AK.
Beirne was a strong believer in community service. While living in Alaska, he became active in politics, working to help the Territory of Alaska become the 49th state of the United States. He was a forensic pathologist and served as the Alaska State Medical Examiner. He was instrumental in bringing other physicians to Alaska from the “lower 48.” As both an avid small plane pilot and the only pathologist in Alaska, he flew to many of Alaska’s villages. He established the Blood Bank of Alaska and functioned as its director. He was the director of laboratories for Providence Hospital, Anchorage Community Hospital and Fairbanks Hospital. He was the founder and director of the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center, a consultant to both the U.S. PHS Hospital and the Elmendorf Air Force Base Hospital, the owner and director of several medical laboratories in both Anchorage and Fairbanks, and as a member of the Anchorage Municipal Health Commission, he served as an advisor to the mayor and the assembly. He volunteered in many other community activities and programs.
Dr. Beirne served as a member of the Alaska State Legislature. He pioneered the Alaska Homestead Act in an attempt to share some small portion of Alaska’s vast government-owned land with the Alaskan individual.
He was known for giving a helping hand to start up entrepreneurs. Close friends and relatives describe him as a deeply caring man, always there in times of need.
During his retirement, he spent his time at his homes in Anchorage, Cathedral City and Towanda.
Last week Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell ordered the Alaska flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Dr. Beirne’s contributions to that state.
In addition to his children, Dr. Beirne is survived by his longtime partner, Margie St. Anthony; his grandchildren, Annie, Betty, Sean Ryan and Ella; his brother and sister-inlaw, Patrick and Carol Beirne of Towanda; his sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Patrick Barrett of Towanda; sisters-in-law, Shirley Beirne of Inner Harbor Beach, FL and Teresa Carola of Sayre and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife, Corinne Annabelle Beirne in 1992; parents, Col. John F.A. and Helen Beirne; siblings, Lt. John F. Beirne, who was killed in action during WWII; Attorney Robert J. Beirne, O. Thomas Beirne, Virginia M. Beirne and Dr. Daniel K. Beirne.
Condolences can be sent to the Dr. Michael F. Beirne Family, c/o Sally Beirne, PO Box 91539, Anchorage, AK 99509.
Pursuant to his wishes, Dr. Beirne’s remains were cremated and will be brought back to Alaska and Bradford County.