Michael Spear

Nov. 10, 1942 - Dec. 27, 2022

Leaf - Earth Leaf - Earth Leaf - Earth Leaf - Earth

Where does one start an obituary for a kind and loving man whom everyone loved regardless of how often they saw or talked to him? He was tall, and hard to miss, but his presence what most noticeable. I remember a time in a Bartell Drugs store which has low aisle shelves, and I could easily find him! Likewise, he was easy to find at a concert at the King Dome. His voice was deep and carried. One time when we were eating at a Wendy’s restaurant he asked us all, “who wants a frosty?” Other diners in the dining room raised their hands!   His sisters adored him. He was the boy that replaced the one his parents lost earlier at one year old; they had all girls otherwise. Even he admits he was a little spoiled. Glad he made the trek to Iowa to celebrate his oldest sisters 90th birthday this spring. He said it was the last time he would fly; airplane seats were just too small for him.   Things he loved beside family included sailing, cars, motorcycles, driving fast, auto racing, tinkering, figuring out how things worked and modifying items to his needs and just building things. During his snowbird time in Panama he designed and built a boat lift powered by water pressure. It was successful but never took off as a money maker for him. He built a replica “Tardis” (Dr. Who) with his grandson Cory, Soap box derby car with his friend Ben, and a potting bench for me in his beloved Seahawks colors.   Sailing was his very favorite though. He loved his Ranger 29 sailboat, Sharkey, and spent two weeks in the San Juan’s every summer for years and years. He would sail and race whenever he could. He was a talented and competitive captain. One time he hoisted me to the top of the mast to fix something. As he was standing directly under me with the line, I proceeded to drop the wrench directly onto the top of his head. That could have ended badly but luckily he didn’t pass out nor have more than a welt, and I’m sure a headache. I wonder how many folks, like Doug and I, fell in love with sailing because of him. What I remember of his first little sail boat with the head (toilet) smack in the middle of the tiny cabin! Jodi and I recall being woken up from the V-birth early one morning on Sharkey as we were returning from our week in the San Juan’s to look at the Orcas breeching in the distance. He hadn’t woken us up earlier when they were actually “playing" with the boat - which sometimes turns very dangerous, but didn’t. One time, Jodi and I were stranded by the tide on Sucia Island, and had to be led through the dark wooded trail by some boys with a flashlight. Upon our return, and maybe after hearing our giggles the entire trek, he didn’t seem the least bit concerned. He always trusted things would work out fine. And really, they do.   He was quite lucky at the casino. He played the slots for the most part, and I think blackjack in his earlier years when he’d go to Las Vegas. He had some successful outings which added to his level of fun. It gave him a fun excuse to get out of his house and drive his car. He lived the last 6 or so years in one-half of a little house in Langley, which was perfect for him. Simple and small, it had all he needed plus a work shed to do his projects. He modified his electric bike to gain enough battery storage so he could make it into Seattle and back to Whidbey Island! He was in his 70’s and riding his electric bike instead of buying a car for a period. The weather was hard to maintain that, but impressive he tried!   Born and raised in Iowa, mostly Ames. Almost graduated from Iowa State University. During his college days, he was very active in auto crossing and car rallies driving his beloved TR4. He loved winning big trophy’s with his skills! He moved to Minneapolis in January 1968 with his wife Jan, and daughter Shelly (me) to become Manager of Kings Food Host — they served the best hamburgers and cheese frenchees! Second daughter Jodi was born that June. But after working 80 hours a week at the restaurant, he was exhausted and left the restaurant. He bought a BMW and started working for Patterson Dental Supply in 1969. Soon he was offered the chance to move to Seattle and become the youngest manager of a Patterson Dental Supply office. After a few years of being manager, he wished to stop shuffling papers around and go back to serving the customers, which made him much happier! During this time in Seattle, he continued to love car rallies and racing his BMW. He is one of the founders of Seattle’s BMW Club. A couple jobs with car dealerships managing the service departments, then on to Paccar for the rest of his employment years. His time at Paccar Parts was such a wonderful and enjoyed employment for him! He helped create the parts database and said he had so much fun that he would have done the work even if they hadn’t paid him. He was glad to retire, but it was harder on him than he expected. Not finding something to really get into with joy for an extended period may have contributed to some boredom / depression. I think that is what made it harder for him to reach out to others, although he was never good at it, even with his daughters! We accepted it and didn’t take it personally, like nobody should.   He didn’t leave the Seattle area until after retirement. He really enjoyed Bocas del Toro in Panama for a number of years; returning to the PNW for holidays, graduations and a month or two in the summer. The travel between to two locations, which was 48 hours no matter how you did it, included cars, ferries, planes and a hotel stay, finally was too much of a pain so he came back, despite the rain. Also, he missed us!   I am sure you have your own happy memories of him. He was full of fun and was pretty chill (unless racing). He didn’t want a funeral, but instead said we were to have a party in his name. We will most likely plan a day sail this spring with his sailing companions on Puget Sound to celebrate his life. For now, we invite everyone to close their eyes, think of a silly or happy Mike memory, smile a big smile and send that out into the world! Donate to your favorite charity if that helps you process his departure from this physical plane.   His family sends you much love for the joy you brought to him and to us! Wishing you fair winds and following seas! "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much. worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - Kenneth Grahame, from 'The Wind in the Willows'


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