When asked his opinion about a tough decision you were trying to make, Mike Kinney would often simply shrug and offer the reminder “life is short”. But as the universe would have it, his was a vast and colorful 90 years. He was a deeply proud lifelong resident of Indianapolis. There’s a pretty good chance you, or someone you know, met Mike. Maybe you met him as scrappy kid in Broad Ripple where he was the altar boy in church and a graduate from Broad Ripple High School. Or maybe you came across him as a teenager pumping gas or towing your broke down car to Bob’s Marathon, next to the Roselyn’s Bakery at College and Broad Ripple Avenue where he worked well into his adulthood.
After high school you might have missed him for a bit while he was enlisted in the Army, using his driving skills to ferry officers back and forth from posts and parties. After his service, you likely saw him on the campus of Butler University where he was regularly seen at Hinkle Fieldhouse cheering the Bulldogs and at Sigma Chi charming the co-eds. He loved these communities and could always be counted on to help arrange class reunions and make them legendary enough to continue happening for 50 years.
In the 1950s after college, he found good money being the only one crazy enough to climb radio towers and paint them. If you saw a man back then placed precariously high atop a tower, that was probably him. This lasted until he married the mother of his children and momentarily settled for the decidedly less risky business of selling lightbulbs. By this time Mike knew every nook and cranny of this city like the back of his hand; it’s no surprise then that he heard the call of residential real estate. If he didn’t help you buy, sell, or build a home, there’s a good chance he still knew your transaction happened. The man was a walking MLS directory.
In the late 1970s, Mike responded to a downturn real estate market by opening Lord Byron’s British Pub presciently located at the time at 96th and Meridian Street. If you ever stopped in back then for a business lunch or to commiserate with friends over a drink, you surely met him greeting guests and working the room. He sold the restaurant and passed the torch to a new owner who expanded it to become Daddy Jack’s. Mike went from proud owner to loyal customer and routinely met up with family and friends in this now thriving location.
Soon after, Mike returned to real estate. He combined his love of scouting neighborhoods with his intense civic pride and threw himself into the commercial side. It’s likely you drove past property signs with his name and phone number emblazoned on them. Moreover, if you ever attended a Downtown Kiwanis Club meeting or enjoyed a pizza at the bar in Iaria’s restaurant, then surely you chatted him up about local politics and current events.
Mike Kinney valued hard work and participation in the world around him. As business slowed down, he invested himself in volunteering for the VA (as a driver, naturally) and put indefatigable effort into improving his tennis game at the Indianapolis Racquet Club. Count these among the many various communities that could always count on him showing up.
Mike is survived by the love of his life, Michelle Pomerleau Kinney, who cheerfully indulged him in his penchants for snow skiing, motorsports, Butler hoops, too much salt on his food, yellow legal pads, and vacationing in Michigan.
He is also survived by his two sisters, Ann Riegner and Jean Gardner, whom he loved and admired for their fierceness and independent thinking.
Finally, he is survived by his three children Jim Kinney, Karen Young, and Meg Kinney as well as four grandchildren and a great grandson all of whom will continue to see and embrace the pieces of Mike forever in themselves.
Let’s honor this man in the tradition of the Irish and feel some sadness, share some laughter, and raise a glass to Mike Kinney.
On behalf of the entire Kinney family we want to extend our sincere gratitude to the compassionate professionals at the Roudebush Veterans Medical Center and Gentiva hospice.
Visitation for Mike will be held from 2:00pm to 3:00pm on Friday, December 1st at Leppert Mortuary Nora, 740 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240, followed by a funeral service at 3:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested in Mike’s name to the Abe Lincoln Scholarship Program at Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis: 320 N. Meridian Street, Suite 115, Indianapolis IN 46204.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.leppertmortuarynora.com for the Kinney family.
Abe Lincoln Scholarship Program at Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis320 N. Meridian Street, Suite 115, Indianapolis, Indiana