In the afternoon of Dec. 7, 2021 my husband, Mickey, earned his angel wings after a six-year decline from heart disease, bladder cancer and dementia. Mickey can best be described as a bright, eclectic, open-hearted and kind person. He was a skilled craftsman, a natural-born teacher and a lover of people and water.
When people asked him what he “did” he would typically refer to himself as a “Jack of all trades." His innate curiosity to understand how the world works and his unceasing joy for life permeated all that he set out to do and accomplish.
He spent his early years in Northern California, living in both urban and country environments. As a young child he resided in Albany and when his mother remarried they moved to Clear Lake. From his mother, Gertrude, he learned independence, resilience and a deep appreciation for words and literature. From his stepfather, Elton, he learned how to live off the land through hunting, fishing and foraging.
As a young man Mickey attended Heald College in San Francisco which led him to work a seven-year stint as a technical engineer for Lawerence Livermore Laboratories. During this time he became interested in road and water racing, building his own Formula 1 race car and hydroplane and racing them both in several tournaments.
When Mickey and I met and fell in love we were both living in an area locally known as the Coastside. It was a community of boat builders and fishermen on a beautiful peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. On our first date we went canoe surfing. That night the full moon cast a glow on the windless water as the leisurely ocean waves lifted us into the bowl of stars and gently folded us back into its depth.
Our life journey as a couple was an ever-deepening love story in which supporting each other’s passions and interests was a mainstay. Early in our relationship we renovated a military bus into a traveling home and named it Cognito. I remember the day we took off, our black tomcat, Thor, perched high on the back of the driver's seat as we headed north to parts unknown.
On a warm summer day in 1980, Cognito rolled off the ferry landing and into the quiet waterfront of Port Townsend, Washington. And as people greeted us from the entrance of the Town Tavern and as we turned left and drove down Water Street, Mickey and I knew we had discovered a small piece of paradise.
In our new-found home, my husband pursued many of his interests and skills. He became a familiar face at the port and for several years worked as a shipwright for The Boat Works and later for Baird Boats. He wrote several articles for The Leader and other publications, most of which were focused on the local wooden boat trades and sailing culture. He taught at the Magnate Center, an educational foundation for adults, teaching welding skills and computer science.
In the late '80s Mickey volunteered as a project manager for the Jalapa/Port Townsend Sister City Association. He traveled to Jalapa, Nicaragua and gathered building materials for a group project that culminated in the installation of a children’s carousel as a gesture of friendship and peace. As a board member of The Food Co-op he helped to usher in a new business model and supported the staff during the transition from the Uptown district to its present location. Mickey’s last gig before retiring was as a computer specialist working initially as a private consultant and then implementing and developing the I.T. department for Skookum Enterprises.
The natural beauty that surrounds our home was never lost on my husband and as a couple we took every opportunity to explore and appreciate. We had the good fortune of enjoying many adventures together, sailing and kayaking both up and down Sound and hiking in the mountains and on our coastal beaches.
As my husband’s health declined, his activities narrowed yet his appreciation for life seemed to deepen. He remained curious and in the moment and found immense joy in bird song, the beauty of spring flowers in our garden and his connection with people.
In the end, he knew he was deeply loved. In the end, he became love and his presence remains in my heart and in the hearts of many.
Words cannot express the deep appreciation and gratitude I feel for Mickey’s hospice team.
A heart-felt thank you to Linda, Sandy, Teresa, Eliana and Dawn. Your insights, love, and care were a blessing beyond measure.
If friends and family feel inspired, please consider a donation to the Jefferson Healthcare Hospice Program in Mickey’s memory.