Deceased July 15, 2019
Mike was born in Philadelphia; had his childhood in Riverton, N.J.; and prepared for Amherst at Groton School, Groton, Mass. He joined Phi Alpha Phi and the Masquers and majored in English, a step toward his later professional career, which was interrupted by two years after Amherst in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot. Mike always felt proud of having flown 101 flights and successful landings on his aircraft carrier, USS Essex.
With a Ph.D. in English from Northwestern U. in hand, Mike settled into being a professor of American English for 35 years at Knox College, Galesburg, Ill., and devoted himself to classroom teaching, his students and curriculum development. He especially prized the freshman interdisciplinary seminar in the liberal arts that he developed with his colleagues. Walt Whitman’s poetry and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick were his favorite books. He also spoke French and was a master at creating limericks.
Mike and his wife, Karen, retired to northern Wisconsin, near Washburn, to a 100-year-old Norwegian immigrant farm that Mike and his family had been using for vacations. From there he was free to sail frequently (even all the way to his former Riverton, N.J.), raise chickens and entertain family and friends.
An environmentalist, he served on the Bayfield Regional Conservancy board. He loved opera, reading and his dogs. Raised an Episcopalian, he became a devoted Unitarian Universalist.
Mike will be remembered by all who knew him for his quick wit and ironic humor. He died on July 15, 2019, in Washburn. He is survived by Karen, his wife of 44 years; sons James (Julie Rademaker), John (Megan Williamson) and Mathew (Michelle Frey); and six grandchildren.
James Crowell, Julie Rademaker and George Edmonds ’53