A MESSAGE FROM THE FAMILY

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OBITUARY

James Michael Mayer

April 19, 1951October 14, 2020
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James Michael Mayer, 69, of West Des Moines, passed away suddenly Wednesday morning, October 14th, 2020 at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines.

He was born April 19th, 1951 in Des Moines, Iowa where he lived all his life. James, who went by Michael to most, graduated from Lincoln High School in 1969. He then went on to earn his degree in Law from the University of Iowa. Michael practiced law for many years in Iowa as a criminal defense attorney and then more recently, in immigration law. Michael was known in his profession, as kind, honest and as a very reputable lawyer. He worked extremely hard for his clients and always made sure that they were represented as strongly as possible. Michael’s big heart and vast knowledge of the law made him the lawyer you wanted on your side. Michael’s kindness to all and his ability to see the positive in others made people around him want to be a better person.

Michael enjoyed many things in life like watching the Yankees play ball, exploring history, reading, and adding to his amazing stamp collection. He also loved music, movies, and hunting, but most of all he loved, loved spending time with his family! Papa Mike never missed a dance recital, Little League baseball game or a family dinner. He had a special relationship with all six of his kids and spoke to all he knew about their accomplishments and how proud he was of them. He was always down to play with his grandkids whether it was “cops and robbers” or playing “Ana and Elsa”. His grandkids knew they could always catch a ride on the front of Papa’s wheelchair whenever they wanted. Michael’s children and grandchildren absolutely adored and loved him with all of their hearts. He will be sorely missed but celebrated and remembered by all who loved him.

Michael Mayer is remembered by his children Matthew Ver Huel, Sherri (Jason) Nielsen, Scott (Kathy) Ver Huel, Michal (Marcos) Bautista, Brooke Mayer, and Andrew (Elizabeth) Mayer; his grandchildren Jordan (Leslie) Blackburn, Alexandra and Ellen Strittmatter, Chloe and Toby Nielsen, Conner, Jackson and Ella Israel, Trevor, Parker and Lucas Mayer, and Mateo Bautista; his father Jack Mayer, his sister Connie (Eric) Hockett, and his brother John (Cathy) Mayer. He was preceded in death by his wife René Tilton, his mother Anna Mayer, and his daughter-in-law Vivian Ver Huel.

His family has asked for memorials to be sent to Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside, a place that Michael enjoyed as a child.

Services

  • Celebration of Life

    Sunday, October 18, 2020

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Memories

James Michael Mayer

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Nova Janssen

October 23, 2020

Dear Mayer Family,

I write to convey the condolences of all of the attorneys and staff in the Federal Public Defender's Office. Mike was a beloved member of the federal criminal defense community, and will be greatly missed.
Since the FD office opened in the mid-90s, Mike served as a Criminal Justice Act "panel attorney," defending indigent persons accused of federal crimes on a court-appointed basis. In this role, Mike defended hundreds of clients, who were fortunate to have an experienced, devoted, and formidable advocate to help them navigate the complicated federal legal system. Those of us who had the privilege to work with Mike were equally as fortunate to have him as a trusted and valued colleague.
We will miss Mike at the FD office's continuing legal education events, which he very rarely missed. Mike could always be counted on to have great questions, useful input, and a big smile on his face. He often arrived early and stayed late to visit with our attorneys and staff, asking after their health and families, or sharing stories about his own family and court experiences. Mike will be fondly remembered by all of us as a truly wonderful attorney, colleague, and friend. The world would be a better place if there were more people like Mike in it.

Nova D. Janssen

Keith Uhl

October 20, 2020

I knew Mike as a fellow criminal defense lawyer in federal court. Always prepared, and a gentleman. The good spirit lives, as does Mikes!

F. Montgomery Brown

October 20, 2020

To the Mayer Family:
It was a great pleasure to know and practice criminal defense law with Mike in the State and federal courts. Mike was a very fine lawyer. Most of all he was a fabulous human being. Always kind and considerate, never complained, ragged nobody. Giant of a human in my book. I was fortunate to call him my friend. FMBrown

Michael Knauer

October 18, 2020

Mike was a great guy, an amazing human being, and a dear friend going back to junior high school. He will be greatly missed, but I will always remember and cherish the positive influence he had on me and countless others. Thank you, Michael!

'Til we meet again -- your friend,

Mike

Craig Bradke

October 18, 2020

I had the absolute pleasure of being Mike's roommate throughout college and graduate/law school. He was and always will be my best friend. As a gentleman, scholar, attorney, friend, and family member, he was a positive influence on all who knew him; the world is a better place because of him. He will be profoundly missed... My condolences to his wonderful family...

Linda Allen

October 18, 2020

I was a legal assistant for 38 years, about 20 years in an office with Mike. He was one of my five best, favorite bosses. He was there when I came in and still working when I left. He loved history and used historical dates as pass words. He was mostly doing court appointed juvenile law and was dedicated to every one of his clients. We watched each others kids grow up, He had a pride in the kids accomplishments and loved the kids. He was so excited when the first grandchild was born and posted pictures of him with his grandkids. He never complained about walking, even when he had to climb over the snowdrifts to get into the courthouse. He was dedicated to the practice of law and his clients . He had respect of Judges and other attorneys. He will be missed. As my own grandkids would tell his family, heaven has received another angel and the sky a new bright star. Look for the brightest star in the sky and you'll know Mike is watching over all of you.

Cindy Moisan

October 18, 2020

Mike was one of the nicest people I have known. He always had a smile and a kind word. He never let any disability get in his way He will be missed

Rick Blane

October 18, 2020

Such a good, kind, compassionate man. Such a quality lawyer. He always had a positive outlook that brightened the day. He will be missed. Condolences to his family.

Helen Youngs

October 17, 2020

Michael, my heart is aching from the loss of someone so special and so like family. When I ran the Grand Jury you would quickly run in for coffee and see if there were goodies. Michael I think of when you would come to our booth at the Fair and I would get you a ride so you would be on time for your childrens’ recitals and shows and we would be laughing so hard. I used to say quit it I will have to run to the bathroom. MICHAEL I KNOW YOU WENT THROUGH SO MUCH but you did not care you just loved your family so much. I know you helped me be a better person and as my son said when he left me, “I love you and I always will. “. Love you Michael go and enjoy all those things your little legs would not let you, have fun, you have earned it and you have many loving you and caring. Goodbye for now my Friend. Hugs and love.

Dominic Corsello

October 17, 2020

Very sorry to hear about this. Mike was a trusted colleague, an exceptional attorney, and a better person. I never saw him without a smile and he was an uplifting moment to whatever else that day had brought.
Sincere condolences to his family.

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