ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Michael Farmilant, 65 years old, born on June 24, 1954, and passed away on February 23, 2020. We will remember him forever.
Posted by Barbara Farmilant on February 24, 2021
I am forever grateful to have had mike in my life. He was always present at Thanksgiving. Cooking, helping, and making me laugh. He often called me “ma” and held my hand in-my most darkest hours, as his father passed. I love and miss my son, gone to soon. Mike was one of a kind, he loved his sons, his music, and Diane. He always spoke with love about his family and partner. I will never forget you and I will always love you.
Posted by Elisa Farmilant on February 24, 2021
I wish there was a way to "heart" these comments!
Posted by Diane DalSanto on February 24, 2021
I Loved❤ you like there was no tomorrow...
and then...one day..there wasnt...

I miss you so...from your smiling face to your warm heart..Go rest now...

All My Love...Diana
Posted by alan lake on February 24, 2021
The Farmilants were my neighbors growing up on Columbia Ave. They on the 1st floor and us on the 3rd. We shared an idyllic childhood @ the beach but after moving in 62 we lost touch. 50 yrs later Mike contacted me via facebook as we had some friends in common and saw my name. After playing catch up we realized we had something in common as we were both professional musicians. He invited me to his jam and I went to sit in. Besides seeing him for the 1st time in ages, the drummer on the gig was my 1st drum teacher who's mind I blew by being able to produce the lessons he hand wrote me around 1966 shortly thereafter. Mike was a good player and It was my pleasure to sit in under those interesting circumstances. Rest in Groove my brother.
Posted by Steve Justin on February 23, 2021
Love you Mike, really, really miss you. So grateful for the times we spent together. Rest In Peace, my brother
Posted by Steve Farmilant on February 23, 2021
Today is the one year anniversary of Michael's death.
He organized a weekly Sunday night jam session at a tavern on the north side that met weekly for ten years.
Here's a video from one of those evenings:

https://www.facebook.com/steve.farmilant/videos/10153962497583387/

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Barbara Farmilant on February 24, 2021
I am forever grateful to have had mike in my life. He was always present at Thanksgiving. Cooking, helping, and making me laugh. He often called me “ma” and held my hand in-my most darkest hours, as his father passed. I love and miss my son, gone to soon. Mike was one of a kind, he loved his sons, his music, and Diane. He always spoke with love about his family and partner. I will never forget you and I will always love you.
Posted by Elisa Farmilant on February 24, 2021
I wish there was a way to "heart" these comments!
Posted by Diane DalSanto on February 24, 2021
I Loved❤ you like there was no tomorrow...
and then...one day..there wasnt...

I miss you so...from your smiling face to your warm heart..Go rest now...

All My Love...Diana
his Life

Message from Mike's sister Elisa

It is inconceivable that Mike has been gone a year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, stark disbelief, sadness, confusion and a fair amount of disassociation, we have not previously made a space to honor Mike’s memory. Today however, it seems very important, and we’re finally able to put something together.

I miss Mike like crazy, he was always close in my heart and thoughts, even when we were far apart in other ways. Some of my earliest memories are of Mike and of course Steve also. For some reason I always think of our early family as a tribe of monkeys, getting into everything, no personal boundaries, constant activity, all intertwined.

We have many photos and home movies, so the images and feelings are very easy to access and do not seem very far in the past. So many stories and adventures from those earliest days, birthday parties, neighborhood kids, picnics at the forest preserve, family dinners, summers spent at Columbia Ave Beach, the three of us trekking to Kilmer Grade School, Old Town Art Fair, trips to Flambeau in the station wagon, scary movies, crew cuts for the boys and pixies for Janine and me… and so on.

As Janine mentioned, Mike’s teenage years and 20s were distant from us, he was either in his own world playing piano or off with his friends on the top floor of our house or out tramping around uptown. In between there were, of course, the torment years. He tickled us until we peed, held us down and drooled spit on our faces, threw blankets down on us from upstairs, picked on our weaknesses… For me it was the horrid green plastic cup that I could not drink out of. It would somehow end up at my plate night after night.

The piano playing drove us all mad when we had to live with it every day, but later we came to love it, and admire his ability to make music.

Mike mellowed after he became a father, his life and goals changed. He was devoted to his family, and loved Eric and Brandon with all his heart. I have many memories of their early family, we all spent a lot of time together. After I moved to Flambeau we only saw each other a few times a year. They would come up for a week or two in the summer and Mom and I travelled down for Christmas and other festivities. There was never any question that we would spend holidays together.

We played Words with Friends (I was better) and Ruzzle (he kicked my ass every single time, by A LOT.) We had family meals when we were in Chicago, and sometimes we were able to go to Big Joe's on Sunday and hear the Jazz jams. He visited us up north and spent time at our house, he and Barbara came up together for a week, twice. I treasure those memories, and wish there were more. I guess that’s the nature of losing someone you love, you always wish there was more.

There is so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it here for now, and perhaps add more later.
Mike, you are in my heart always, Elisa

Message from Mike's sister Janine

I wasn’t very close to Michael when we were young. He was 7 1/2 years older than me and he was kind of mean to me back then. I think "Make sisters cry" was high on his daily to-do list, and he was able to check that one off most days.

When we moved back to Chicago, to our big ol’ house on Hutchinson, Michael would have been about 13. Once Steven was old enough to move his bedroom up there, Mike and Steve basically had their own apartment on the 3rd floor. Our house was always the hang-out place. My brothers and their friends would traipse up the back stairs, hang out, play music, and do what those hippie teenagers did back then. It was the late 60s and 70s and our folks had a pretty “hands-off” parenting style. In later years our dad claimed he never knew what was going on up there, but he was the only one who didn’t! When I picture Michael in that house it’s either up in his room surrounded by friends, or downstairs by the front staircase playing the piano. It’s comforting to realize that he had that piano and many of those same friends for the rest of his life.

Through Mike’s parenting and work years my image of him is again at the piano or outside, grilling dinner in the snow. I think he was ambivalent about being the “meat guy”, but we all enjoyed his great cooking and he rescued more than a few meals at my house by quietly fixing my mistakes, carving the meat or making the gravy.

I think that with each decade of his life Mike became kinder and more insightful. He didn’t talk about feelings often, but when he did he would surprise me with his clarity and his deep understanding of himself and others. He was slow to anger but when he got there he was quick and concise in expressing himself and would then swiftly move on.

Michael left us just weeks before quarantine. This past year has been so odd and disconnected, I think that my mind doesn’t fully understand that he is gone. I miss him, and that is wrapped up in the strangeness of this whole past year. When regular life returns and he is still not around I will feel the loss even more.

Love you Mike

Message from Mike's brother Steve

Michael was the eldest of us. A deeply private and humble man, the depth of his emotional, intellectual, and philosophical life were not often on display. To those of us who knew him well, those characteristics were obvious and cherished.  

You might not know that he had a significant hearing loss from birth, which required the lifelong use of hearing aids. I’m certain this accounts for his introverted nature.  His first device was a small silver box he’d keep in his shirt pocket connected to a wired earplug. He used it like an AM radio, snapping his fingers to the beat of a world he could finally hear. 

His love of music was awakened when he started piano lessons at a young age. Certainly, his attachment to music was a way for him to connect to the auditory world. I remember sitting in a restaurant with him when we were kids. He was tapping his foot to a baseline on the music system in the place. I couldn’t hear it, but the vibration must have been at a frequency his weak ears could perceive. He told me they were playing the baseline to “Cherokee” superimposed over some other jazz standard’s melody. 

Although he had formal lessons as a kid, he was largely a self-taught musician. He was also a self-taught band leader, who fronted, from behind his Fender Rhodes electric piano, several bands starting in high school. His last musical project, as he called it, was a Sunday night jam session at Big Joes tavern on Foster that was open to anyone who wanted to join. He started this exercise as a way to learn to sight-read music. Someone would call a tune, everyone would find that in their Fake Books, and away they’d go. 

He was also a man of deep emotional pain, which he kept to himself until the end. I suppose the primary source of it was the isolation he felt secondary to his hearing loss. I believe he felt left behind because of his physical inability to track conversations and keep up with the social demands that were second nature to hearing individuals.  

Compensating for this obstacle, he was a voracious reader. He tore through science fiction: Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury and others. He devoured Carlos Castaneda; I remember him discussing the magical realism of that book with wonder. He read Orwell, which might have been the foundation of his understanding of the politics of injustice. 

He had a shrewd street-sense that gave him a superpower: he could see through bullshit. He had a card sense that made him a feared cribbage opponent. He was a patient pool player who could line up his next shot effortlessly. He was a whiz with mathematical patterns, memorized a thousand phone numbers, and could predict another person’s motivations and behavior like a mind-reader.  

Michael was a role model for me and I was very competitive with him. As a second-born, I had the ever-present feeling of trying to beat him in a race up a ladder. I never could. He outpaced me in every interest we shared.  

There is a hole in my life where he once stood. I still think of reaching out to him with a new joke, or restaurant, or story about a mutual friend from the old neighborhood. Remembering that his spirit has separated from his flesh, I imagine myself at the edge of a cliff, one of the cornerstones of my life absent. 

Good night, my brother. 
Steve

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