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Milos "Big Mike" Tadich (1887-1960)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

    In July 1958, Taylor & Drury sponsored Big Mike and all of his dogs in the parade that opened the gold rush jubilee ceebrations (The Whitehorse Star, July 31, 1958).

    On November 26, 1959, Stroller's column in The Star reported "Must be some holiday coming up or something, see Big Mike walking his dogs in a sporty red jacket."

The Whitehorse Star - Thursday, June 23, 1960

Headline: Death Claims City Legend As Big Mike Laid To Rest, 1960

by Walt Makdator

    Big Mike is dead.

    Milos Tadich, 73, known to most Whitehorse residents as Big Mike, died of a heart condition June 17 at Whitehorse General hospital.

    John Hendrik, a neighbor, found Mike sick in his bed June 14, with his huge Siberian wolf dog, Bum, lying across his chest, protecting his master. Mike refused to go to the hospital at first, worried about his three dogs, Bum, Fox and Skipper. He had to be assured by the RCMP that they would be cared for before consenting to leave.

    According to his will, two of the dogs were destroyed at the city pound Saturday. Mike loved his dogs, and was afraid they might be maltreated by another master. He knew no one would shower them with liver, beef steak and veal cutlets as he once did.

    However, he consented to let city dog catcher D. A. Brown keep Bum, his favorite, as a personal pet. "The dogs really pined for him," said Mrs. Jean Brown, the catcher's wife. "Mike must have really taken care of them, Bum still howls and whines for Mike."

    Mike lived in a trailer at Whiskey Flats, alongside the river. At one time he had as many as nine dogs. There were four bunks in the trailer. One was for himself. The other three were for his pets.

    He was fond of children, and was always happy to hand out cake, apples, oranges or popcorn, saying, "Here, you take."

    Mike came to the Yukon in 1910. Many people who knew him thought he was Russian, and some even nicknamed him "Russian Mike." However, he was born in Montenegro, which has been absorbed into Yugoslavia, and he sometimes resented being thought a Russian.

    In spite of his huge size, towering higher than six feet and two inches, and his occasional bursts of temper, Mike had never been striking anyone. "Like his dogs, his bark was worse than his bite." said neighbour Len Bath. "I only remember him being really mad once. It was when my dog stole a roast from his oven."

    "Later, I bought Mike a new roast but he never forgot it. 'Your dog big thief, though,' he just said."

    In 1916 Mike joined the Yukon Machine Gun Company, organized by Commissioner George Black at Dawson City. During the war he received a head wound.

    He was buried June 22 by the Canadian Legion.

    "One tale about popular Big Mike involved the miner and an incident with the not-so-popular mining recorder of the day. They happened to meet in front of the Federal Building on Main Street, the government official hurrying along and the big man leading his usual odd dogteam.
    Angry over a recent decision affecting his mineral claims, Tadich picked up the smaller man, held him up in the air and shouted, "I kill you!\" then put him down on the sidewalk and went on his way with the dogs.
    No official charges were laid."
Flo Whyard, The Whitehorse Star, July 26, 2002.