My Special Buddy

Shared by Jonathan Wilson on May 17, 2019

I always looked forward to my evening phone calls from Mike when he was heading home to pick up Mac or driving to and from the desert and I still find myself waiting for him to call. He would always ask "how are the O.P's"? I first met John and Mike when they asked Jonathan to come by for a drink at the home they had just purchased in Deepwell. I really did not want to go but I am so glad I did because Mike and I really bonded and he always made me smile and laughed at all my stories. His joy and love of life was contagious and he brought such happiness to me. I really enjoyed it when he asked me to come to the Ritz and help get things ready for the big opening, everything had to be done a certain way, but then he would smile and you felt like a kid .

I'm just surprised at how often I get this sadness come over me when I realize that Mike is gone. Mike was so talented and he had a special way about him that made most conversations end up in laughter. We will both miss him so much and love him forever.

Your special friend,  Pierrette

Working with Michael

Shared by Karen Bernert on May 17, 2019

Some people come into our lives and stay for a while... but there are some that quickly go and leave footprints in our heart and we are never ever quite the same …

Michael was one of those people.

I met Michael in December of 2016, when he hired me to work at the new store he was opening at The Ritz Carlton in Rancho Mirage. I loved working with him … I admired his energy, his passion, and his amazing creativity ! At first, Michael intimidated me ( and I am not easily intimidated ). He was so particular about how everything had to be, which I understood so well … a trait I am guilty of myself. It always amazed me when he would come to the store each Thursday and everything seemed to be in perfect order ( or so I thought ) as he would zero in on one thing that, in his mind, was turned too much to the left or too little to the right and he would then make a slight adjustment that actually made it more perfect !  He would just flash that devilish smile at me and I would just shake my head. I looked forward to his visits each week, even though he drove me crazy. 

It didn’t take long for us to become friends. I remember early on he said to me one day … “Why don’t we go to the apparel mart in LA together” to which I replied “that would be great”. He responded “fabulous”, why don’t you drive to my house in Laguna and stay overnight and then we could drive to LA the next day”. Puzzled, I said … Why would I want to drive from Palm Springs to Laguna and stay at your house and then drive from there to LA when I can just drive from Palm springs to LA and meet you at The Mart, to which he replied “ because it would be FUN” !!!

Just listening to Michael laugh would make me laugh and listening to Michael make fun of me ( which he often did) would make us both laugh.

Michael touched my heart so much, that I always liked to think we had a special connection. I loved him, I adored him and was privileged to know him and be his friend … in my eyes, he was a gentle giant with charisma that was beyond !! He always called me his superstar, but know he thought all of us at the store were his superstars, each in our own way. When he got sick, I told him we were his angels and he loved that.

I will miss his laughter, his smile, his humor, out talks, him making fun of me and basically, everything about him – he was definitely extra special and his footprint will remain in my heart always and forever. 

A candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long… 

Michael certainly was a very bright light in so many lives.

Rest in peace my dear friend. 

Karen B

When we met...

Shared by John Murphy on May 9, 2019

Mike and I met through an on-line dating app.  We would message back and forth for a few weeks before actually meeting or speaking on the phone.  When we did finally agree to have lunch in Laguna Beach where he was living at the time, he called me that afternoon and left a message confirming our lunch.  His voice was very jolly and I thought this guy sounds really nice.  Having had several nightmare dates from the on-line app, I was ready to throw in the towel but proceeded with this lunch in hopes of meeting a normal guy.

We met at what is now Nick's across from Hotel Laguna.  I had lived in Laguna when I first moved to CA and knew my way around town.  I arrived early and decided to walk around the village.  As I rounded a corner a couple of blocks from the restaurant, I saw this guy at a distance walking toward me.  I was pretty sure this was the Mike I was meeting for lunch.  I had in my mind meeting at the restaurant as planned, not having a spontaneous meeting on the street.  What if he was odd, a jerk, or something else.  I suddenly got nervous and darted into a store that had two entrances on either side of the store.  That way I could escape out the other entrance and scoot up to the restaurant and get myself situated as I had wanted to appear cool and very relaxed! LOL

Well, he saw me suddenly dart into the store and told me some years later that he thought to himself as he made his way to the restaurant, "what a flake, yet another loser from on-line dating apps, he probably won't even show up...".  As he approached the restaurant, I was waiting outside acting real calm.  He flashed his famous smile and BAM! I realized we had met years before at a friend's BBQ and had hung out afterwards with one of his best girl friends.  I remember a spark from that time but I was not ready to date then, I was focused on my career and enjoyed being single.

Mike did not recognize me.  You see my hair had gotten a bit grayer over the years between our meeting (which he told me a few dates later!).  So we are enjoying the food and our conversation; it flowed like we had known each other for years.  Realizing he did not seem to recall meeting at the BBQ, I finally said, "You know, we actually met several years ago at a BBQ".  His big smile suddenly disappeared and he quickly excused himself to go to the restroom.  I was crushed.  I said to myself, "what a flake, yet another loser from on-line dating apps, he probably won't even come back..."!  

In fact, he did come back and was grinning ear to ear.  As he sat back down, he said he was sorry he jumped up so quickly, but he had to call that same best girl friend and let her know we had reconnected!  And there began what would be the most amazing partnership, filled with constant laughter, countless adventures and most importantly, a deep and lasting love.  

Love you forever Mikey!

Fond Memories of Michael's youth and growing up

Shared by Terry Streit on May 6, 2019

Michael was a child who was always testing his parents to see what he could get away with. When he about 3, he was at my sister Pat's house in Connecticut one summer.  Pat's dog Charlie didn't like Mike invading his space. Pat warned Mike not to reach inside the childrens gate where Charlie was or he may bite him.  Guess what, he did and he was. He got that gleam in his eye and went ahead anyway. He always wanted to see if he could get away with something he was told not to do. Michael was also a charmer who could pretty much get his way with most women, including his mother.

Throughout his school years there were similar incidents where he would see if he could pull something and get away it.  Nothing illegal or to hurt anyone, but enough to challenge the patience of his parents. I think he was getting bored with school at times and needed the extra incentive to make life interesting.

Michael loved the Boy Scouts and enjoyed the outside activities.  He earned more than 30 merit badges to become an Eagle Scout. He loved the scouts so much that he spent 2 summers at Catalina Island as a counselor at the Boy Scout camp at Two Harbors during summer vacation.

Michael made a lot of friends and he was always loyal to them if they sought his help. He also loved animals and was always trying to help them if needed. His love for animals continued throughout his lifetime. His favorite was Mac his English Bulldog who went to doggie heaven a year ago. Hopefully they are now together forever. 

As an adult, Michael was an extremely talented designer and was very successful in his retail and design business. Not only was he good at walking into a house and coming up with great design ideas but he made friends with his clients. In recent years most of his design work was for existing clients and their friends who loved his ideas to refresh and update their homes. 

My son added so much joy, fun and laughter and will be forever missing from our lives. May he rest in peace. 



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