Special Customers

In Memoriam

These are some of the dome people who have shared our dome vision during their short time on this Earth

Theresa Mayhew


February 25, 2011
Dear friend, companion, partner and wife of
Hugh Mayhew, Domes Northwest, our Natural Spaces
Domes dealer in the Washington/ Idaho area.

Theresa with Hunny, 2007

Theresa with Janet Johnson, Natural Spaces Domes
















Gail & Bob Nevalainen











Authorities in Washington state have confirmed that a Northland couple died when their plane crashed into a mountainside last weekend.

The Bellingham Herald reported that the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office announced Friday that Robert Nevalainen, 62, and Gail Nevalainen, 58, of Kabetogama, died instantly when their plane crashed into Twin Sisters Mountain, about 10 miles east of Acme, Wash.The Nevalainens had left International Falls and were scheduled to reach Orcas Island, Wash., on July 11, but never arrived. They were reported missing Tuesday night, and the plane wreckage was found Wednesday. Two bodies were recovered from the remote crash site on Wednesday, and a tail registration number spotted amid the wreckage appeared to match the Nevalainens’ plane.


The Bellingham Herald reported that the couple had last stopped in Stehekin, Wash. — about 60 miles from the crash site — before heading toward Orcas Island. The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Phil Hart, owner of Gateway General Store in Kabetogama — a small community in northern St. Louis County — told the News Tribune on Wednesday that the Nevalainens were “strong community leaders in this area.” Bob Nevalainen was Kabetogama town chairman and Gail was town treasurer, taking an active role in community events.

Both also volunteered on the Kabetogama Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service, according to their obituary.

Bob was born in Chisholm and had worked for St. Louis County for 39 years, according to the obituary. Gail was a native of Sterling, Ill., who spent 17 years as a paraprofessional in the schools. They were married in 1979 in Chisholm and are survived by three children and four grandchildren.

Hart said Bob Nevalainen had been interested in aviation for years. Both Bob and Gail were retired, but Gail had worked a few days a week at the store. The couple was taking a trip to Alaska, Hart said.

John Zay

The passing of a friend is always hard. We consider all our dome customers our friends. In this case, John Zay was a very special friend. His smile came through his voice when you talked to him on the phone. His family wrote some very moving words of remembrance. You may click here to read them.

In their words he was a “Man of peace, gentle spirit, compassionate listener, spiritual guide, musician, friend, gardener, son of Emma and John, lover of life and of nature, builder, Trappist monk, husband, dad, brother of Bob, Jim, and Tom, cancer survivor, chaplain, runner, dreamer creative craftsman, neighbor, lover of food, soul mate and best friend”.

He completed his earthly life as the sun rose on the morning of December 20th, 2004. He will be missed and forever loved by Mickey, Jessica, Jonathan, and Matthew.
John Zay – 46′ diam. mid profile dome near Hartsel, Colorado

Bea Liu

Bea Liu was one of our first dome customers in 1973. When she built her dome she was 65 years old but still retained that pioneer spirit she had exhibited earlier in her life. Her 10 meter diameter (33′) high-profile dome served her well for many, many years. One item she built into her new dome was a Chinese “squatting” toilet.

Bea Exner Liu was eighty-eight years old as her first book for adults was published. During the Japanese invasion of China from 1935 to 1945, Liu lived in China, worked as a teacher, and married a Chinese economist.

Born and raised in Northfield, Minnesota, she graduated from Carleton College. Liu moved to China because teaching positions were scarce in the United States during the depression. The eventuality of a Communist take-over finally brought Bea and her family back to Minnesota.


Liu says, “I have been writing all my life, but seldom got around to trying to get my writing published.” Her book for children Little Wu and the Watermelons was published in the 1950s and won two awards.

In addition to the memoir Remebering China, (1935-1945) Liu completed a novel about civilian life in China during the war, Down-River People , just before her death at ninety.






Mike Fairchild

Mike started designing his dome in March of 1993 prior to his attending Dome School. After many revisions to the plan, which included adding living quarters for his parents, Mike ordered his 46′ diameter mid profile dome in August 1995. The connection hardware system was delivered in October. Mike fabricated all of the Dome shell components and built the entire lower level over the next two plus years. Mike died of a heart attack on March, 28th 1998. With the help of some of Mike’s friends, a committed contractor, and Marilyn and John (Natural Spaces Dome owners in Polson, MT) his parents decided to complete Mike’s dome. The dome raising was done in July 1998. Betty and E.T. did move into the dome after its completion.