Amherst, Prepublished on Class of 1963 Web Pages
Michael B. Solomon ‘63
Mike Solomon, “Sollie”, died on the ski slopes of Sugarloaf, Maine on February 4, 2005. He went as he came to us, his Amherst friends and fraternity brothers, optimistic, accomplished, funny, compassionate, fit, and widely loved.
Mike came to Amherst from Brooklyn. To one of us, from a particularly parochial background, he was the first Jewish person ever met. He was a baseball player, member of Theta Delt, and a pre-med. He was also a fun loving practical joker, and got bounced for a semester from the College after one of his pranks. To him, this was an unforgivable overreaction, causing him to lose touch with the College institutionally, while he remained in close contact with his many friends.
When he subsequently was not admitted to U.S. medical schools, he was characteristically undaunted and went to Bologna to get his MD. There he met his lifelong love, Ingrid, from Austria. They returned to the U.S. and had three daughters, Martina, Marisa and Ula, all accomplished and joyous women. Mike was a very engaged husband, father, and grandfather, with so much more love to give.
After practicing medicine in the military in Maine, he and Ingrid chose Bangor as their home. In 1975 he began practicing obstetrics and gynecology there. While maintaining his private practice, he also became head of the department at both St. Joseph Hospital and the Eastern Maine Medical Center. He was recognized as one of the top practitioners in the region. Several of his patients wrote to the local paper upon hearing of his death, commenting on his compassion toward the wide range of human needs.
He and Ingrid were one of six couples to found the first Jewish congregation in Bangor. He is the first of them to be buried in the Jewish cemetery.
He was awaiting the arrival of his fourth grandchild when he died. None of us can imagine a more perfect profile for exuberant grandfatherhood. He loved the outdoors, hiking in Acadia with Ingrid, paddling with one of his grandchildren in a canoe on Lake Lucerne, or coaxing one last run from his daughters on the ski hill.
He combined an irrepressible optimism with high intelligence, an uncommon package. He was an accessible and appreciative friend. In many ways, he did have a complete life, as a person with no unresolved issues or unfinished business. As Dick Freeland said at the funeral service, “In the sadness of our loss, I feel a reflective joy that his life gave him space to achieve and experience all this, and that he died a truly happy man.” We learned from Mike a lot about living life, and we profoundly miss him.