A. Michael Wich
May 1, 1939 – September 8, 2020
A. Michael Wich lived a life worth living. He was an important person in the lives of so many people during his 81 years. On May 1, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, he was the first-born son to Arthur and Phyllis Wich. He was the oldest brother to Jerry, Tom, Mary, Judi, Hank, Peggy, Bill, Angela and Larry. He was the beloved husband to Marlene (Grace) Wich for 59 years. He was the loved and respected father to Mike, C. Ann, John, Janet, and Jenny. He was known as Opa or Grandpa to his eleven grandchildren: Julian, Cecilia, Michael, Alex, John Paul, Harry, Kelsey, Charlee, Max, Zane, and Skyler. He was also a true and trusted friend for over half a century to his high school classmates, and to neighbors and fellow adventurers.
He was a person who took his chosen responsibilities in life seriously, and he expected himself to live up to his own high standards. He took pride in being a hard worker and never shied away from rolling up his sleeves. It was very rare for him to miss a day of work or to even show up late. He was known for his organizational skills. If a document was needed from him, it was sure to be found in one of his many files. Marlene could always count on him to fix a broken appliance or to maintain her car. Even in retirement, he made sure his widowed neighbors winterized their homes or had their lights turned on at night.
Yet, the man knew how to have fun. He knew what he liked, and he went after his values with gusto. During the 70’s when visiting his father’s house in Saugatuck, he loved playing the card game Solo with his dad, stepmom Vi, and whatever brothers and sisters who were visiting that weekend. A bottle of Stroh’s beer was usually close at hand. In 1980 he got his first motor home—the Holiday Rambler. That was the start of a love affair with homes on wheels. His last vehicle was a forty-foot bus. He just loved to get behind that big steering wheel and heading out on the open road. He was also a voracious reader. He would go to garage sales and buy books by the dozens, always talking the owner down in price, of course. He doted on his two cats, Buddy and Pretty Girl, but one must admit, his choice of names was a bit questionable. Let’s not forget the name of the dog he had while living on the farm in Hamilton, Hey Boy.
Mike’s personality was multi-faceted. He had a reputation for being very competitive and wouldn’t shy away from a good discussion (read: argument). He had the Wich family ability to belabor a point and maybe do a little finger-pointing along the way, but he was never one to hold a grudge. He was always willing to challenge conventional thinking if the facts led him to a different conclusion. This admirable quality of thinking for himself and acting on his own convictions made him a trusted confidant and source for advice. One always knew he would tell it like he saw it.
Mike was also known for his generous and benevolent spirit. He was the type of man who would stop to help a stranded woman start her car or to assist a friend or family member in need. He was a steady force in the lives of so many people. One could always count on him. He had a quiet confidence about him that was consistent throughout his entire life.
Mike Wich was a man with a keen mind and a big heart, yet sadly, it was his heart that couldn’t keep up with him. We had to say good-bye to him on September 8, 2020. He was a man who could justly feel pride in a life well led. His loss will be felt by all who knew and loved him.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
A. Michael Wich
September 25, 2020
My dear brother Mike.... I was fortunate enough to have lived in the vicinity of Mike, Marlene and their five wonderful children through the kids early years. I felt as though I was part of them, I babysat, we played games, we read a lot together...family gatherings were great fun.
I always felt loved and cared for by Mike. In my 20’s I would go visit Mike, Marlene and the kids often. I would go in the house and play with the kids or sit and chat with Marlene. About an hour later Mike would come in and and say to me, “your left back tire was low, I put air in it, you should probably keep an eye on it. “. Or, “your oil was down a quart, I put one in, it should be okay for awhile.”
Again, I felt cared for and loved.
As a single mom Mike and Marlene would come to visit, Marlene and I would talk about flowers or decorating while Mike circled my home taking care of things that needed to be done and then he’d make a list of things to do or to watch for.
Again, I felt cared for and loved.
I have many more situations like the above.....
Mike was one of my best brothers ever, I have a very deep fondness and love for the man and brother he was to me!
Spending time with young Mike, CAnn, John, Janet and Jenny has always been hi lights in my life and still is to this day. My brother Mike lives on within these five children of his, they are a true legacy to him. Mike was always very proud of his five children.
I will miss my dear brother.
September 20, 2020
I was fortunate to live close to and work with Mike for many years. Mike was very high energy and positive so was someone I always enjoyed being around. Mike was very good at seeing the differences between common beliefs and true facts and wisdom and used this ability to help many people both at work and his friends and family. I came to trust Mike’s advice so much that I often just took them like instruction (which wasn’t smart on my part) but I don’t ever remember regretting it.
A couple funny memories:
Mike once told me the way he would get in the proper mood to drive his huge Diesel engine motor bus was to slam his thumb in the door, get made and then he was ready to drive.
Once Maureen and I pulled up to Mike and Marlene's house in my old ford truck to visit and I didn’t realize it but the back of my truck was on fire. Mike apparently saw it first so had ran and got the garden hose to put it out before I could even respond. Maybe this is a good metaphor for Mike’s life because he was good at keeping bad things from becoming catastrophes.
September 20, 2020
When I was sitting thinking about Uncle Mike the one time we talked the kept coming to mind was the last time we got to sit down and talk at a family gathering in Holland. We were chatting and he reached into his front pocket and pulled out the pad of paper and pen. I asked him what he was doing and he said something to the effect of, This is important and I want to write it down so I can come back and think about it later. I thought that was one of the most caring things I had heard in a long time.
Uncle Mike, you will be missed.
September 20, 2020
Mike was the oldest of all ten of us. Wearing that mantle and the pressures of it was not lost on me. He wore it well. He also played cupid with me. While Ginger was staying with them he invited me over to play cards almost every weekend. That started something that now has lasted 51 years. Thanks Mike.
September 20, 2020
My Favorite Mike Story
We were about to have some beer, fish, and fries but first Mike had to make a phone call. He told Marlene that he was in Detroit and couldn't make it home that night. Before Malene could say, "what are you doing in Detroit?", Mike said he was just kidding, he was with Tom in Saugatuck, and would be late getting home. After he hung up, Mike told me that you had to put everything in its proper perspective. I will never forget that. I will never forget Mike. He was more than a brother to me. More like a dad. Vicky and I had many great times together with Mike and Marlene.
September 19, 2020
I want to include my memories of the last time I visited my dad in the hospital on September 6, 2020.
What occurred to me afterwards is that he was the same man even laying in a hospital bed in considerable pain as he was in the comfort of his own home.
When a new nurse or technician came into his room, he would always make sure he knew their name and find out a bit about them. He found out that one nurse was a "traveler." As she was telling my dad about her experiences, he nudged me and said, "Janet, did you hear that, she's a traveling nurse." He said it with such enthusiasm. I know he felt that he had met a kindred spirit.
He was also very patient and understanding with his nurses. One young nurse came in to take some blood. She was spending quite a bit of time in the room, and a few times I looked back over my shoulder at my dad to make sure everything was okay. He was in the bed with his eyes closed, not even moving. When the nurse left, I went over to my dad's side and looked down at his hand. I noticed that she had punctured him in a number of places. When I asked him, "What was she doing?" He responded, "She isn't very good at drawing blood." When I asked him why he didn't say anything, he just shrugged and made a noise to suggest that she needed the practice.
Towards the end of my visit, my dad asked me, "What time are you planning on leaving?" I told him that visiting hours ended at 6:00, so I would leave then. He asked, "Is it still light out at 6:00?" I told him it was, and he responded, "Good, I don't like the idea of you driving home in the dark." I thought, should I remind him that I'm 55 years old and have driven in the dark on many occasions? But no, he still thought of me as his 16 year old daughter, and I found his concern so touching.
My father's love and guidance will be sorely missed.
September 18, 2020
Mike was my eldest brother and I was the eldest daughter, so we shared responsibilities in the family. Mike for the outside and I in the house helping our mother.
Until I got married, Mike was the one I would go to if I had questions on how to fix something or understand something. Some of the things that stand our in my memory about Mike, is how he kept the '50 Plymouth going. I learned to drive in that car and after we got a new car, the '50 Plymouth was the one the children drove. The floor eventually rusted out and Mike put plywood in and bolted the seat down to it. I had to sit on the edge of the seat after that in order to reach the pedals.
A year and a half ago I had the chance to spend a week with Mike and Marlene. It was wonderful seeing how he cared for Marlene and learn how he thought of things now. Being with them on a day to day basis gave me a better perspective on Mike's present personality and how he was so willing to help others.
September 12, 2020
Mike was a great guy and will be missed by many!
I remember when he worked late on Friday's at Oak Financial. He would take a late lunch and we had the goal of visiting a different restaurant. Seems like the ones we tried all served beer! One of our favorites was the Holland Hotel and Pub next to the rail tracks where we could get a hot dog and beer for 25 cents each. I also remember selling him the 3 homes on 17th and River in Holland. The big 2 story corner house needed painting. He went to Repco Lite and bought a bunch of paint. Mixed them all together in a garbage can and then got the whole family out to paint it. It turned out a kind of a moss green! That color became quite popular in years to come. Once again Mike was ahead of the times!