ForeverMissed
Tributes
This tribute was added by Diane Dao on July 10, 2020
Can't believe it's been a month. I can't even imagine what it's like for Mike's family...Since that fateful day, my "Tribute to Mike" has swirled in my head, but now that I won't allow myself to procrastinate any longer, I find trying to express anything just doesn't make sense. Perhaps because THIS just shifted everything and that there's nothing anyone can do or say really to make this right. All that any one of us can do is try to readjust...

I'm glad that on numerous occasions I let him know just what a surprising impact he had on my life and was forever grateful. We are nothing alike on the surface, but over the course of 8+ years, we realized we were similar in many ways. Through several candid conversations, among many things, he imparted to me "Know your worth and seek out people that value and appreciate you." It's a pretty good guiding principle & this is how I will honor & memorialize Mike. Mike was definitely a force to be reckoned with, but that's because, as others have pointed out, he was powered by "all heart, all brain". Miss you, MB.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Julia Fegel
Very sorry to hear. I learned a lot from Mike; he had a great mind. One of my fondest memories of Mike was at the team offsite in Laguna Beach to take a cooking class. It was a great time.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Mike Duffy
He once put a requirement in a PRD that was all about Minions to see if anyone read the document.  No one ever asked him about it.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Ann Tran
Echoing many of the memories shared. It’s still a shock and very saddening. Mike was unique and polarizing. How deeply he saw the value of our data and the potential it could bring was incredible – smart is an understatement. On a personal note, he was probably the only person throughout the years that would make me want to scream one day and then say aw Mike the next week as we talk about family. :joy: His imprint is still very much part of our ECS journey today. He’ll be missed.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From David Williams
Mike was the worst car driver I've ever known. He had some great qualities besides behind the wheel, however- smart, determined, headstrong (always a plus at ECD- back in the day). Sad to have heard this news, especially with family in tow.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Greg Olson
I interviewed with Mike before I started at “ECD”. We geeked out on build to order systems that we had worked on in our prior jobs. He was also my 1st office mate when I started. Mike helped me learn the ropes. Mike had a passion for quality and was driven to see it through. I also remembered the occasional offsite at the Westin where he played piano. Gifted.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Mike Charyk
Such sad news, but also such a nice collections of Burger memories. I’ll add one- when I was interviewing for my first position at ECS, Greg (Olson) let me know that the position was pretty much mine as long as I didn’t screw up the interview with Mike Burger. After a tough Burger interview (picture the intense Burger stare), I came away feeling “I think I screwed that up.” But luckily I was able to join and then had the pleasure to work much closer with Burger during the early Corvette days. He was really an incredible guy, professional and personally. He’ll be very missed.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Chau Vu
I wasn't sure what to make of him before I knew him, but I always knew he was super intelligent and thoughtful. Once I had direct interactions with him I found him to very personable and even funny. I appreciated when he challenged me to think harder. This is a tragedy and a pretty terrible feeling for me.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Angela Lee
Very sad to hear that.. I was just thinking about him yesterday for some reason and reminiscing the old days when he was in the office just next to my cubicle.. I remember he was incredibly smart and had some radical, but innovative ideas.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
Darrel Huntington
Sad news indeed. I met Mike back when we first started to implement 3BQU on Phoenix and we were sequestered to a war room back in Irvine - he is one of the reasons I have the knowledge I do for report parsing and was the only person who could read the raw data better than I could without using the docs. The timing though - I just thought of him earlier today when the topic of redheads came up - he used to always give me a hard time (good-naturedly) for using the expression "red headed stepchild"
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Phil Stewart-Jones
Very sad to hear this. I first met him way back in the day, when I was still in corporate doing a lot of work with NCAC and CIS Product and we had a cross-BU meeting with ECS. He had a very good understanding of the bureau side - it was a shame that the politics and platforms of the day didn't allow us to push that forward more effectively at that time. But as we moved into the Corvette era, that relationship started to thaw and he helped start some of those conversations up again. Very, very smart and articulate guy.
This tribute was added by Karl Arnold on July 1, 2020
From Seth Holtgrewe
I'm not sure what to write here other than I'm just in shock and so sad to hear this. I was offsite in the trenches with Burger (and Mirza as well) during the Corvette replatform days for over a year. He was an extremely smart individual and while we didn't always agree professionally speaking, we had great respect for each other. I miss the personal conversations we had talking about our families. He had a good soul.
This tribute was added by Andrew Walsh on June 24, 2020
Several people have asked me to explain the puns Mike and I exchanged which were mentioned in the Celebrant's memorial in the service. Puns sometimes don't translate to verbal, so here's what they were.

(1) Mike and I would trade musical and composer puns often. I told him I was going to the store, and had made a Chopin Liszt. [He replied I should stop Messiaen around.]

(2) The big mouse genes exchange ended with Mike referring to Darth Maus. My reply was to mention R0-Dent2. It was the best I could do under pressure.

There were seven and a half years of puns between us. It was a gift I inherited from my father, and was overjoyed to find a new and willing victim. I know I shall never have that kind of friendship again. I was a proud member of Burger's "Happy Meal" team.
This tribute was added by Juliet Aucreman on June 20, 2020
There doesn’t seem to be any good reason to think of Michael in the past tense. For to be with Michael, was to be on a journey of the mind. And here we are – living in our quaking minds as we question the universe, what happened to that great mind we loved tapping into?

Time with Michael was an exploration of thought through a fantastical web of explorative language. Through words, we explored a musical way of expressing ideas. Through the plays of speech, we jostled our minds, carving forward into a constantly morphing universe of humor and intellect.

A flicker of the eye, a pause in a sentence, a word with many connotations – what did it all mean? Whatever that moment led us from and into, a constant twisting road, an odyssey of thought.

Michael has taken on a new place in our minds – perhaps quieter, but deep seated. As I saw him this week in rest, I kept thinking I saw the flicker of a tiny grin on one side of his mouth, as I so often have, and have been right to see. And really, there was no reason to think otherwise. Because there is only so much seriousness that Michael CAN tolerate before some humor breaks out.

Harsh reality mixed with hope, silliness tempered with wizened wisdom, here were the moments that lingered and pushed us forward.

Thank you, Michael, for journeying with me, with us, and for bringing us together towards a higher plane of fantastical thought and living.

This tribute was added by Nelson Yu on June 19, 2020
Like many others, Mike had an impact on my life. Just recently before his passing I was telling someone a piece of advice Mike gave me over 10 years ago when we were at Experian. Back then, I was in my mid-20's and thought I knew everything. I'll always remember. He told me not to take everything so seriously. Crack a joke. Smile. I truly took everything way too serious back then and for the next 10 years. It was not till a couple years ago did I really understand what he meant. Once I took his advice, everything changed. I was happier. Those around me were happier. 

Mike, I'm truly thankful for the opportunity to have met you, worked with you, and learned from you. Know that you played a large role in my professional life that also improved my personal life. Rest in peace friend. 
This tribute was added by Dennis Behrman on June 16, 2020
So sad to hear this news.

I worked closely with Mike for a short but memorable year. I also had the honor of staying in touch with him over the decade since then. I will remember so many great things about him. A brilliant mind. A kind and open heart. Unbridled and unwavering love for his family. Wit. Humbleness. A great laugh.

His friends and loved ones have lost a great man. The world was so much better with him in it. I will miss you, Mike, and hope that our souls cross paths again. Sending my love to his family.
This tribute was added by Jeff Anop on June 15, 2020
Mike and I met years ago between work at two our companies. After many months of discussions and focus, we cemented a partnership that was a vision of Mike's from many years past. I admired Mike's ability to think forward with depth and thoughtfulness. He was very knowledgeable but never in a way where you felt less knowledgeable or inferior.

Mike and I shared a passion for good food and wine and through our business relationship were able to make that a reality. He invited me to the finest meal I have had in my life to date, it was an unforgettable experience. I will never forget that generous offer.

I will remember Mike in many different ways and share in the ways others will remember him: creative, curious, pensive, kind and generous.

It was wonderful to have known Mike, he will be missed. I wish grace and peace for his loving family and friends.
This tribute was added by Michael Kilander on June 15, 2020
I had the good fortune of working with Mike on one of the most challenging projects in my career. Passionate, intelligent, and never one to shy away from a complex problem, Mike inspired us to keep pushing...to accept no compromise. He will be greatly missed.
This tribute was added by Vijesh Jayaraman on June 15, 2020
Mike and I worked together in Yodlee for close to 4 years and, without any hesitation, I would say there was never a dull moment. Mike had so much clarity and, combined with innate confidence, was able to overcome plenty of work-related hurdles. I strongly admit that a lot of his belief had rubbed off on me during our various boardroom meetings as well as one-on-one calls. Most importantly, Mike gave me the required time and space to nurture and work on several ideas.

One of the most important aspects we had in common was that family always assumed top priority - Mike stuck to that even during his visits to India and made sure it applied to everyone.

It was wonderful to have Mike as a colleague - so much learnt and so many more memories created. That makes his loss all the more shocking and devastating as one doesn't come across people like him on a day-to-day basis at the workplace. I pray for him as well as his family. May his soul rest in peace.
This tribute was added by Andrew Walsh on June 14, 2020
Words will never do justice to what Mike meant to me, but fortunately his family fully knows.

I owe so much to this fine man, so deep was his friendship and so giving was his nature, that I tried for many years to figure out a way to repay his kindness and fervent support. I believed I had plenty of time to figure that out, but that was not the case after all, and I am devastated by this. I owe him my career, I owe him my new-found confidence, and I may literally owe him my life.

He often loaned or gave me material items he saw I needed at my low points, but most of all, he gave me the mental and emotional support at crucial moments in my own journey. He helped me back on my feet at two of the most difficult times of my entire life. I was foolish to think that could truly be repaid, but all he asked in return was friendship, honesty, and hard work. Those parts were easy to fulfill.

I will be committed to his family and be there whenever needed. That's the least I can do for the extraordinary man Mike Burger was.
This tribute was added by Juliet Aucreman on June 13, 2020
Living Memory of Michael  By Juliet Morse Aucreman

Early in July, 2007, a man called me, seeking piano lessons for both himself and his daughter. A few days later, I met our formidable Michael – self-assured, quietly humorous, a commander at the keyboard. He was a self-made pianist – he hadn’t taken the conservatory route as I had, but a powerhouse he was, adding either fire or innuendo to every musical phrase, as the music called him. Here was personality, here was flair, here was the ruddy panache a piano can help unfold, with the hand of an artist.

But it was Michael’s mind, floating through those airwaves, that caught my attention. His crafty use of words, his slight smile and deep giggle at all the double meanings of thought – those qualities ignited my mind to a quick alertness.

As I do not teach concertizing players, and since Michael wanted a teacher for both himself and Zoe, I suggested Michael try another teacher. I gave him some references. I was disappointed. “How do I get this guy into my life?” I thought to myself. We talked, we laughed. I remember telling him I hoped I would see him again. In that evening interlude, I still remember the lamp casting a warm glow about him as he beamed with the music.

A few weeks later, Michael called back. He wanted to sign Zoe up for lessons with me. And so, on the lovely morning on July 27, 2007, Zoe and I started working together, and thus began one of the great family friendships of my life. Piano lessons with Zoe – a gift from Mother Earth to me.

Years came and went. Zoe taught me to see the world in a blossoming light. Her humor, her empathy, her sparkle, helped me grow as a person. And all the while, Michael was there, facilitating, watching, jiggling his knee as he often does when he’s amused or deep in thought. Michael was passionate about promoting education and personal development.

Michael, Travis, and Zoe would back me up at all my whimsical piano recitals. Michael would write out thoughtful comment sheets. Michael, Travis, and Zoe would turn up at hospitals and help me load in my gear, and Michael and Zoe would perform alongside my other students. Within their trio, I always felt embraced and cherished. Lessons became paired with lunches in the summertime or dinners during the schoolyear. Travis would often join us, and I’d serve them the most awful boxed wine this planet has ‘ere produced. Their politeness amidst my insult to vino was a testament to our enduring friendship.

Over the years, I was gifted with the opportunity to also teach Alex and Vicky piano. Alex taught me humor. Vicky colored my world.

It is with great pain that I bid our dear friend Michael goodbye. But, even if he tries, Michael will live on in my head, where I have him tightly bundled up, should he dare escape. We are still laughing together about our little favorite shared humor sources – The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, innumerable Monty Python skits, and puns we never had to explain to each other.

I thank the universe for throwing Michael into my path, and for the gifts he continues to give through my dear Travis, Zoe, Alex, and Vicky, and their wonderful extended family and friends.

In Michael’s memory, we must push forward with fresh ideas and a renewed commitment to excellence, gusto and silliness. With the last falling leaf of our great red oak, just watch – just wait. Soon, a new sapling of thought grows within. 

And so, as I had hoped long ago, we shall see Michael again.






This tribute was added by David Padrusch on June 13, 2020
May his memory be a blessing.

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