Michael William Gilbert
February 14, 1959 – November 7, 2019
Michael William Gilbert passed away in the early morning hours of Thursday, November 7th at the home he shared with his father, Bob Gilbert, in Englewood, Colorado. He was 60 years old.
The second of five children, he was born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1959 at Woodruff Community Hospital in Lakewood, California to Robert H. and (Marilynn) Sue (Shelton). In 1964, the family moved to Boise, Idaho where they stayed until 1969 when the family moved again, this time to Englewood, Colorado. Michael attended Clayton Elementary School, Sinclair Junior High School, and Englewood High School. Michael was active in Chess Club, Explorer Cops, and Navy Junior ROTC. He loved to read. Every summer, Dad would take all the family on extended trips to places all across the country. Michael enjoyed the museums and the forts that Dad was fond of exploring. Michael probably got his love of travel from those early days packed in the back of the station wagon with the rest of the kids and the camping gear driving for hours and watching the world go by outside the window.
Michael graduated High School and attended CU in Boulder his first year of college. However, he enjoyed the “atmosphere” at CU and being out on his own a little too much, and hence did not return to school the following year. Instead, he worked for Dad at Raycomm Telecommunications installing phone systems and working as a technician for many years. He took up skiing and greatly enjoyed spending time with a few friends on the slopes. Finally, after saving his paychecks for several years, he reapplied to CU at the age of 32. (On a lighter note, he was still on academic probation after all that time!). This time, Michael buckled down and studied, still living at Mom and Dad’s house and commuting to Boulder daily for classes. He graduated with 3 degrees, involving Computer Science, Math, and Electronics. He was recruited by NorTel, a telecommunications company in Plano, Texas where he worked on software design for many years. At some point, he was sent to Germany to work for a few months, giving him the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing in Europe. Michael became part of a group of single people who traveled together. He started doing WindJammer cruises with the group, and other excursions to New Orleans and other destinations. Later, he worked at NetScout Systems in Dallas, Texas where he designed communications systems. One project he spoke of was coding communications protocols so that people in Asia could talk to the United States. Michael enjoyed working at NetScout, where he became part of a team that became friends. Michael would organize a lunch every Wednesday for his team, and often participated in special outings with them. Michael’s love of travel continued to grow. He went less with the singles group and spent more time travelling by himself or with a companion to Thailand, which he loved, to China, and many times to the Caribbean. Michael loved the smaller boats and cruised the islands and played on ziplines. He especially loved visiting the Tiger sanctuary in Thailand. Tigers were Michael’s favorite animal, though he did enjoy visiting zoos in general. Michael would come home at Christmas every year, bring his camera and slides to show pictures to the family of his adventures. Michael bought a piece of land in the country north of Dallas and proceeded to put up a building and build an apartment inside it. Mom and Dad would spend several weeks in the winter with Michael while Dad helped build the apartment. Michael had planned to build an actual house on the property, but never got to it.
In February 2017, after spending his 58th birthday in Costa Rica, cruising and ziplining and snorkeling, Michael suffered a debilitating stroke, and consequently discovered that he had Stage IV Melanoma Cancer, although a primary site for the melanoma was never found. After spending time in a hospital in Sherman, Texas, it was decided that since Michael had no family or real support in Texas, he should come home to Englewood to be near family who could help him as he was treated for the cancer and rehabilitating from the stroke. Throughout all his recovery and treatment he never lost his desire to overcome and improve. He was a good sport about the whole affair, even joking at his condition and his impairment. As tragic as this part of his life was, it afforded Michael time to renew relationships in his family, and to let us reconnect with the grown up man he had become. Michael’s treatment for the cancer was a brand new therapy that had only been trialed out to ten years; we had hoped for 10 years more for him, but unfortunately in June 2019 it was discovered that the cancer had spread to his liver, and treatment was really no longer effective. Michael did not complain, but faced the inevitable. He was surrounded by all his family when his time came. He left us in the quiet of the early morning, but we remember him in our hearts and our stories.
- Memorial Service Monday, November 11, 2019