I received a very sad but not totally unexpected message last night from my friend, Chuck Searcy, informing me and many others that Mike had died at 8:50 EST (8:50 p.m. Viet Nam time) of pancreatic cancer, after slipping into a coma almost four hours earlier. Here’s what Chuck wrote, which best sums up the kind of person Mike was and what many of us will remember about him:
I remember meeting Mike for the first time on a beautiful sunny day in Nha Trang, where he lived and worked. I was wearing a New York Yankees cap, not because I’m a fan but because I needed a hat. A New England guy, Mike was a loyal fan of the Boston Red Sox, archrival and mortal enemy of the Yankees. His first comment after “Hi, great to meet you!” was about my cap. I assured him that it was only to protect my follicly-challenged head from the tropical sun, not a display of team loyalty. 🙂
I enjoyed hearing and reading, since most of our contact was via email and Facebook, his comments about important issues of the day and from the past. One of the things we had in common was our love of and respect for Viet Nam. Another one was what Chuck referred to as kindness giving way to moments of indignation and anger when we saw injustices. Mike was a soul mate in that respect. I will miss his passion and honest feedback.
I will miss his playfulness, the sparkle in his eye, and his smile.
Don’t say goodbye. Say see you again, my brother.