Life Story Visitation
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, drinks and stories will be shared and eulogies and a toast to end the evening will take place at 6:45 pm.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
To a charity of your choice
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Determined as well as hard-working, Mike Gildea was a genuine person through and through. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to many, he savored the time he spent with his growing family over the years. Mike lived his life to the fullest by working hard to provide for the family he loved. Social and outgoing, his warm personality will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
The 1940s were characterized by WWII. By 1948, the first affordable prefab homes were being built in the U.S. to solve the growing need of the baby boomers. That same year, Andy and Barb Gildea welcomed home their firstborn son, Michael, on March 5th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His father was a painter and his mother was a homemaker. Mike’s childhood was filled with many happy and memorable moments.
Typical of kids growing up in the fifties, Mike enjoyed playing outdoors for much of his childhood as he and the other neighborhood kids played until the street lights came on. During the winter months, they played hockey on the frozen ponds and lakes in the area. Mike was a proud graduate of the Class of 1966 from Loy Norrix. He dated his high school sweetheart, Connie Braybrooks when they were only fourteen years old. Eager to share their lives together, they married on June 14, 1968, at St. Monica’s Catholic Church. The newlyweds took a romantic honeymoon in a cabin up north on Rose Lake. They also took the ferry across the lake to visit the popular midwest destination of the Wisconsin Dells. Together they raised two wonderful children, Kelly and Pete.
During his early years, Mike, in his search to find meaningful and steady employment, worked at UPS and Upjohn but was fortunate when a school friend, Mark Schupan, offered him a position for the family company. A quick learner, with intelligence and foresight, Mike was a valuable member of the Schupan & Sons, Inc. He thrived in his work and over the years worked his way all the way up to become president of the company! He enjoyed meeting challenges head-on. Mike's level-headed and even-keeled personality made him successful for many years. As a result of his hard work and efforts, he was able to provide a good life for himself and his family. They enjoyed plenty of time living on the water. Boating on the lakes that they lived on was a favorite pastime and he loved trick and slalom skiing. He always worked hard and knew to enjoy then times off work as well. Mike was able to truly enjoy life to the fullest!
His children, like others, always knew where they stood and that he had their backs. Mike was active in their many endeavors including coaching his son’s hockey teams and later also his grandson’s teams. He instilled in his children a strong work ethic and the importance of always giving your personal best. As a family, they took several road trips to Florida. Mike always loved fishing and golfing. His favorite fishing spot was the tranquil waters of Makokibatan Lake in Ontario, Canada. He enjoyed fishing there several times, returning to beauty any chance he had! Mike was always encouraging to be your best and modeled for them a lifetime of not spending time worrying about the challenges in life, yet making every day count!
When his wife Connie died in 2012, Mike decided to retire and enjoy life a little bit more. He was able to do the traveling he’d always wanted. Plus, he was able to share more time with his grandchildren who meant the world to him. They affectionately called him Bop. His license plate read BOP2six. He also took time to care for his beautiful yard, including some rose bushes, as well as his old cars including his most recent, 1967 Camero. Last month, Mike became a great-grandfather and was able to make a special trip to Colorado to meet him! There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his children and grandchildren. Blessed to touch the lives of many, there is no doubt that Mike left a lasting impression on all who knew and loved him. May his generosity live on in the lives of his loved ones and may they always feel his presence whenever they are gathered together.
Mike Gildea, age 74, of Vicksburg, Michigan, died on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Members of his family include his two children: Kelly (Cory) Wietfeldt, and Pete (Melanie) Gildea; 6 Grandchlidren: Zoe (Federico) Cavallin, Brayden Wietfeldt, Elijah Wietfeldt, Tobyn Wietfeldt, Savannah Gildea, and Andrew Gildea; a great grandson, Lionel Cavallin; his precious dog, Harvey; and his cat, Fred; 4 brothers and sisters: Patricia (Mike) Yankovich, Lynn (Carol) Gildea, Terri Gildea, and Jeff Gildea. He was preceded in death by his wife Connie Gildea in 2012.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared on Tuesday (JUNE 21) from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A time of sharing and a toast to end the evening will take place at 6:45 pm. Visit Mike’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign his guestbook.