Hot Springs, AR
May 08, 1943 - March 26, 2008
He made us laugh!
Mike proudly served his country in the Army’s “Proud Americans” 6th Howitzer Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Unit. While stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington, he served as an honor guard. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1967, and returned in 1968, always speaking with pride about his service in the military.
Not only was he my husband, he was my soul mate, the love of my life, and my best friend. He was charming, very loving, tender and caring. Oh, what a personality he had and what great times we had together! Mike was one of the funniest people you would ever want to meet. He had a special talent for making me and other people laugh, and had such a dry, hilarious, sense of humor. He could tell stories that would have you in stitches, and he loved to play practical jokes. Everyone who knew him remembers him for the great stories he told. He was an avid hunter, quite a marksman, and loved the outdoors. Mike took early retirement in 2004 and we moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas in May, 2005. He was the general contractor and built the dream home we designed on our beautiful mountain just outside of town. We moved in the end of May, 2006, with great plans of spending time with Mike’s son Chris, his wife, and our two grandchildren.
On March 24, 2008, Mike had a severe hemorrhagic stroke and my world ended. There was nothing the doctors could do. The shock was overwhelming. I was allowed to see him as often as I wanted, and his family and friends were given the time to visit too. That 24-hour period was so precious to me. Not only did I have the time to hold him and be with him, but it also gave me time to accept his death and come to terms with what had happened. Early on the morning of March 26, 2008, Mike was taken to surgery and the donation process began.
We don’t get to choose when we die, but we do get to choose whether we can help someone when it happens. Knowing that Mike had made a decision that saved two people’s lives by donating each a kidney is a comfort to me. What an amazing thing he did! Not everyone has that honor. A part of him lives on and I am so proud of him; he didn’t die in vain. He gave the gift of life!
I began volunteering my time about three months after Mike’s death by telling his story and have been heavily involved in donation awareness ever since. In 2015 my family and I were blessed to attend the Pasadena Rose Parade to watch the Donate Life Float pass by displaying our hero’s floragraph We also had the honor and privilege to help decorate the Donate Life Float and to place roses dedicated to Mike and other donors in the Dedication Garden. Mike will forever live on in our hearts and memories.