Mike will be sadly missed by his loving wife, Marilyn (Mo), step-son Michael Knights, nephews Brad (Christine) Abbott and Greg (Joanne) Abbott and their families, cousins Vera (Dick) Smith and Joan Clarke, his sister-in-law Venice (George) Preston, the Nanaimo Tidesmen Barbershop Chorus (his best friends), neighbors, Anita and Brian McCormick, and his many friends in Canada and the U.S.A.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Pat, in 2011, after 47 happy years of marriage, and by his sister, Pat, in 2014.
Born in Victoria, B.C., Mike loved to play soccer. He learned to play the guitar and bass violin, sang in a barbershop quartet in high school as well as playing bass in a combo that entertained in coffee houses. He worked in the record department at Eatons in Victoria where he met his soulmate, Pat. Mike was hired by Kelly’s Record Stores and went on to manage stores in Calgary and Edmonton. When Pat’s parents passed away, they returned to Vancouver Island and settled in Nanaimo’s Cedar-by-the-Sea.
Mike put his whole heart and soul into directing the Nanaimo Tidesmen Chorus for 20+ years. When he showed up for his first rehearsal, there were 6 guys in attendance and they were all Basses. He built the chorus up to 50+ and proudly gave up his position in January 2015 to Alex McDonald who had been with the chorus since he was 11 years old. Mike sang in many quartets throughout his barbershop career, but his favorites were HiWay (he drove to Duncan to meet Ed Jobson, Wayne Garner and Bill Staton from Victoria for rehearsals), the F.R.O.G.S. (Four Really Old Guys Singing – with Ray Bertram, Mac Dahlman and Ron Dodd) and Over the Moon (mixed quartet with James Dunn, Sue Averill and wife, Mo).
Mike had a fabulous memory for names and dates (ask anyone who knew him) but his only attempt to win at the Wheatsheaf’s Trivia Night was foiled by the last question “Which singer was referred to as “Her Nibs”? After getting the answer wrong, he learned it was “Miss Georgia Gibbs”, Frieda Lipschitz (how Mike loved to say that name!). Mike was delightful to be around, and his one-liners were second to none. Mo’s favorite was “I’ll tell you once and then I’ll tell you three times…..but don’t make me tell you twice”.
Mike & Mo got together in May 2013, travelled to Amsterdam in 2014 to enjoy a fabulous Viking river cruise to Basel, Switzerland. They were married July 20, 2015 and were in the early stages of planning another cruise when Mike passed away suddenly last Saturday.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 1:00 pm, Oct. 30th at the Sands Funeral Chapel.
Donations may be made to the Canadian Kidney Foundation or Diabetes Canada, in Mike’s memory.