Nickerson Funeral Home

77 Eldredge Park Way, Orleans, MA


Michael T. Lavin Sr.

January 8, 1946March 11, 2020

Michael T. Lavin, PhD, 74

With deep sadness we announce the passing of Michael Terrence Lavin Sr, 74, of Orleans, MA, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, mentor and friend, on March 11, 2020, after complications from surgery in January.

Mike, the youngest of five sons, was born January 8, 1946 in Framingham, MA to Nora (O’Hare) and Francis Lavin, and was part of a huge extended Irish family. He graduated from Marion Catholic High School in Framingham, received his BA from St. Anselm’s College in Political Science, his MA in Politics of the South from The College of William & Mary, and his PhD in Urban & American Studies from Tufts University.

Professor Lavin was the 3-time former Chair of the Suffolk University Public Management Department (now Institute for Public Service) in its Sawyer Business School, and a co-founder, Director and Assistant Dean of the Suffolk University Programs at Cape Cod Community College. While there, he established a highly regarded Breakfast Series that brought prominent political and business speakers to Cape Cod, and hosted a number of never-to-be forgotten Alumni Events.

Dr Lavin taught and consulted in local government administration, nonprofit management, grant writing, labor and workplace law, human resource management, and labor management relations for more than 40 years. Some organizations directly benefiting from his expertise are Champ Homes, the Cape Cod Council of Churches, the Cape Cod and Boston Chambers of Commerce, Housing for All, and the Cape Cod Foundation. On a pro bono basis, Dr Lavin also counseled The Arc of Massachusetts and 18 of its chapters in fundraising and strategic planning.

Until his passing, he was Senior Fellow at Suffolk’s Moakley Center for Public Management, where he was the backbone of its joint Massachusetts Municipal Association’s academic certificates, and Suffolk’s Master of Public Administration’s longtime presence on the Cape. He was thrilled that the MPA will be back on this side of the bridge in September at Barnstable Town Hall under the leadership of his friend, colleague and former student Mark Forest.

His former students and advisees include many town managers, administrators, and public safety officials both state and local, as well as non-profit and business leaders across the country. His compassion and leadership in support of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and at-risk populations will be a major part of his legacy.

Mike’s interests were deep and multi-faceted. In his so-called retirement, he had more time to restore the model boats he found in antique shops and fairs from Maine to the Carolinas to Florida, and loved to return them to the dealers who had become his friends. As the designated family chef and grill master, he will be sadly missed in his Orleans home. His impressive culinary skills included his legendary clam chowder and Boursin omelettes. A prodigious reader of everything from historical non-fiction to biographies to Robert Parker to Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers, Mike always had several on the go. And although he embraced modern technology in his teaching, reading and shopping, Mike still had the first trac-phone he ever bought.

Mike was a devotee of any sports team within reach of his TV remote! He proudly passed his hockey skills on to his son Tom and granddaughter Emily. An avid hunter and fisherman, he ventured as far north as Nunavut, south as the Florida Keys, east as Ireland and all over the Cape and Islands, alone or in the company of his best buddies Jim and Lee, his sons and other family members. Mike’s sons will carry on these enjoyments, some in his Grady White, soon to be christened The Knuckleheads, as per his wishes!

Mike is survived by his wife, Gail Meyers Lavin and their latest canine and feline daughters, Poodles the Fifth and Hermione the First; their beloved children Mike Jr, Tom, and Caroline; their grandchildren, Michael, Emily, Matthew, Shannon, Ben, Samantha and Jacob; Mike’s brothers Bobby (Dolores) and Frank (Dorothy), and many well-loved relatives too numerous to name. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Geraldine (Fleming), his brothers John and George, and his parents.

The funeral Mass, a Celebration of Life and a private interment with military honors at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne will be arranged at later dates.

If wished, donations may be made to the Geraldine F. Lavin Memorial Scholarship Fund, Suffolk University Advancement Office, 73 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108, which each year supports a Suffolk Business School student impacted by breast cancer.

For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com.


  • Geraldine F. Lavin Memorial Scholarship Fund


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Michael T. Lavin Sr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kalina Todorova

March 25, 2020

Mike Lavin was my mentor, professor and one of the brightest people I know! He always had a smile on his face and nice word to say! His stories were always so inspiring! I am really sorry to hear of his passing! Thank you professor Lavin, you will be greatly missed! You will live in my memories forever!

Martha Taylor

March 23, 2020

Mike was an inspiring educator, mentor, and friend. So sorry to hear of his passing.

Cynthia Parola

March 22, 2020

Such a good professor and such a great gentleman. Loved working with him on some local town projects in Bourne and Yarmouth post MPA degree. He touched so many lives.

Deborah Robbins

March 19, 2020

Was one of my favorite professors. Compassionate, intelligent & great sense
of humor. Prayers to family & friends🙏🏼☘️💚

Binyah Kesselly

March 19, 2020

Prof. Lavin taught me in 1991 during my pursuit of the MPA degree. He was a strong and principled teacher, who insisted on nothing less than excellence everyday in all that we did...a worthy trait that still holds true today as a guiding star.

My family sends its deepest condolences to his family, his community, and the greater Suffolk University family. My his soul find perpetual rest.

Binyah Kesselly
MPA '93, MBA 98

Charles Frankian

March 19, 2020

My deepest condolences on your loss. Dr. Lavin was very instrumental in getting me my first municipal job which turned into a almost 20 year career in public service. I know may people will miss him. God bless.

Pastor Delphine Vasser

March 19, 2020

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are extended to the entire Dr. Michael T. Lavin, Sr. family. May God continue to give you comfort.

Kevin Sweet

March 18, 2020

My deepest sympathy to the Lavin family!

As a former student you were a tremendous mentor and one of my fondest Professors

James F. Moran

March 18, 2020

My deepest sympathy to the family of
Mike Lavin!

Arches Grove United Church of Christ Betty Covington - Church Clerk

March 17, 2020

Gail & Mike are honorary members of our church. Irene McMillan who took cate of Gail as when she was growing up was a member of our church. When Gail visited Sis. McMillan she would always attend our service and even sing in the choir. Gail and Mike were married at our church. Our prayers are with Gail and the family.