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Michael Thomas Grover

Michael Thomas Grover

August 19th, 1982 - January 10th, 2021

"Love is so easy to give. It’s the thing that we have that you can give, and it spreads, and if you do it with joy and laughter, I think you’ve created a really good thing." --Michael Grover

Biography


Michael Thomas Grover was born 8-19-82 and lived in Shoreview, MN until moving to Chicago after high school. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church by his grandfather, Rev. DeLloyd Wippich. He was confirmed at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church and participated in church youth group and attended T.E.C. (teens encounter Christ). Michael graduated from Mounds View High School in 2001 and participated in many activities including varsity football, varsity basketball, JV baseball, band, jazz band, student council, national honor society, and was a National Merit Scholar.


Michael, better know as Mike or Grover, attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he studied Structural Engineering and was an active member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, where he was beloved for his distinctively Groverian sense of humor and for surprisingly soft and cheerfully given bro hugs. He earned his master’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2012. He spent his career as a structural designer for several prominent architecture/engineering firms in Chicago. Most recently with Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Inc.


A romantic at heart, Mike found his true soulmate and eternal advocate in his wife. Lea.While a Lutheran, carnivores engineer and a Jewish, vegetarian writer may sound more like the start of a joke than a love story, their mutual passion for social justice, quirky humor, and all things Harry Potter were the foundation for a rock-solid marriage that became an illustration of true love for all who know them. Their family grew in time, welcoming twin girls Deborah and Sophia in 2009, and later Rivka in 2012.


Being a parent came naturally to Mike who loved every minute of his time with his girls and selflessly gave of himself to provide for them. Mike’s wit easily lent itself to the purveyance of dad jokes, and his 6’ 4” stature provided growing girls with the perfect playground for climbing.


Michael Grover was, and is, beloved by many people, and each can give you a different reason. Some were taken in by his gentleness and good humor; others by his perseverance and strength; still others would tell you that his charming smile put them at ease, or his intellect blew them away. What those who knew him can agree on is that his presence in their lives, whether daily, monthly, or less frequently met, will be dearly missed.


Mike is survived by his wife, Lea Grover, daughters Deborah, Sophia, and Rivka Grover; parents Tom and Donnelle Grover; sister Carolyn (Daniel) Adamson, nieces Isabelle and Madelyn Adamson; in-laws, Nathaniel and Trina Borenstein, Miriam (Daniel) Mora and nephew Judah, and two cats he never wanted but grew to accept.


He was preceded in death by his grandparents, DeLloyd and Dorothy Wippich and Gordon and Janet Grover.


Those wishing to make donations in Mike’s memory should consider the Endurance Scholarship (https://endurancescholarship.wixsite.com/scholarship), or Planned Parenthood (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-involved/other-ways-give).


A Go Fund Me operation has been set up to help defray the medical, hospice, funeral, and aftercare costs to the Grover Family, for those who wish to contribute in that fashion: https://www.gofundme.com/f/love-for-the-grover-family?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet


Listen to Mike on StoryCorps Chicago in 2018: “I Will Die Someday…And That Does Not Scare Me”


https://www.wbez.org/stories/storycorps-chicago-i-will-die-somedayand-that-does-not-scare-me/29565516-40d7-4b82-9753-452e3d900721


And again in 2020: ‘Not Every Death Is A Tragedy’


https://www.wbez.org/stories/storycorps-chicago-not-every-death-is-a-tragedy/0d7f1414-7a6e-4d31-aa97-7fd10cc98788

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Family

About

Name Michael Thomas Grover
Date of Birth August 19th, 1982
Date of Death January 10th, 2021
Home Town Shoreview, MN, US 
Other City Cary, IL, US 
In Memoriam Donation The Endurance Scholarship
Cemetery

Memorial

Funeral Home Querhammer & Flagg Funeral Home 
Family

Family

SpouseLea Grover
ParentsThomas Grover, Donnelle Grover
ChildrenSophia Grover, Deborah Grover, Rivka Grover

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Ellen Hoiland published a tribute .

I did not know Michael personally, but have known him through his parents loving eyes. Leo Tolstoy said, “Everything depends on upbringing.” Tom and Donelle raised a loving son who was a good human being. They supported both their children emotionally, socially, spiritually and intellectually. I know only of a fraction of the time they gave to Michael in his athletic pursuits. Michael’s becoming a loving son, brother, friend, husband and father was by no mistake. He was groomed to be a man of greatness and humility. His courage was remarkable and he leaves a legacy of strength & love. His has surely welcomed him into His heavenly throne.

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Krista Adamson Adjei published a tribute .

My most vivid memory of Michael and family is when I babysat Deborah and Sophia in Shakopee, MN. Michael and Lea went to a wedding and I cared for the girls at their hotel. Well, it wouldn’t be a Minnesota summer without tornado sirens. Sure enough, I’m watching Deborah and Sophia and hear the sirens. I call the front desk to help me carry the girls downstairs in their car seats. We spent the rest of the night in the hallway with strangers whose hearts were stolen by Deborah and Sophia’s head shaking side to side followed by a big grin to win over the audience. This must have been a new skill they had learned! Sirens ended but we remained in the hotel lounge until Michael and Lea came back where they scooped up their girls and what I can only imagine was a sigh of relief. I recall Michael’s kind eyes, gentle smile and words of gratitude. I don’t have a ton of memories to share of Michael but the ones I do have reflect the core of who I’ve learned him to be. An adoring father, husband, son, advocate and friend.

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Lesley Kozin published a tribute .

This is me with the Grovers the last year I was in Chicago. So it would have been around the 12th or maybe the 17th of December. I'm sorry, I don't remember any words that Mike said, or anecdotes he shared, I'm not always good at remembering things like that.
What I do remember is the feelings I felt in the presence of Mike and Lea, at their home. Safe, warm, loved. I remember Mike by the compassion I could feel radiating from him for everyone and everything around him. I remember the feeling when he sat down to talk to you, like you were the only person in the world, and what you said was of the utmost importance. I could see the love in his eyes as much as I could feel it, he loved so purely. I will miss Mike, and I am forever grateful to have known him.

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Alana Z. published a tribute .

Mike loved being silly.

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Alana Z. published a tribute .

Mike taught me the joke: "A magician was driving his car down the street, and it turned into a driveway."

The last I saw him was at your "dip" party. We brought our baby, who was not quite crawling at the time, and I have a clear mental picture of Mike holding our baby in front of the dip table. They both looked totally serene. Mike loved children, and children loved him.

Years earlier, on an especially fun evening in your South Shore apartment, after the girls went to bed, Mike and Lea taught Rob and me how to play Settlers of Catan.

He gave spectacular hugs. I'm holding onto the feeling of Mike's big bear hugs, that always felt so warm and welcoming.

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Erica published a tribute .

I met Mike in spring 2002 during chemistry class at Northwestern. His lab space was directly across mine. I have no idea why he chose to hunch down under the cabinetry and talk to me. My resting face doesn’t invite friends. Nevertheless, out of his mouth came the absolutely corniest jokes I’ve ever heard. It made me laugh over the next 9 weeks which I needed after my first Midwest winter a thousand miles from home.
The musical chairs of the college social scene led us to date 2 years later. I only mention that because we’ve all heard that saying, “everything happens for a reason”. This is one of the few examples of my life that I can provide. We didn’t work because Mike was meant for Lea. My words will not adequately describe this but their passion, how they complimented each other in their approaches to life, the word play (someone existed who could match Mike’s use of the English language!), the love, you would have to be blind to not see soulmates. It was inspiring to witness. In these times, it hurts to see the in-person part of the Mike & Lea love journey end. The love journey will take on a different form. I have no doubt that it will continue to inspire.
Someone else wrote that Mike as a father was the father they had wished for. Ditto. He really wanted to be a dad and he was so darn good at it. Sophia, Deborah, and Rivka brought him so much joy.
Tom and Donnelle, parent to parent, I cannot imagine experiencing the entirety of my child’s life but if I can offer any solace, it’s that you raised a great boy who became a great man. Mike for all of those book smarts, was such an open, humble and kind individual. Shy and rough-around-the-edges people like my college self needed to befriend people like him. I am trying to pass on some of his qualities onto my kids.
It is my hope that his grandchildren who are not even twinkles in his daughters eyes yet, remember him. Remembering him is an honor.
My pictures of our early friendship are misplaced at the moment. So he lives on for me in dad jokes, StrongBad emails, Led Zeppelin, that annoying earworm of Badger Badger and the movie High Fidelity, which featured The Beta Band’s “Dry the Rain”. The refrain at the end goes something like “if there’s something inside you want to say, say it out loud, it will be okay, I will be your light”. That refrain has provided comfort several times over the past two decades. Thank you Mike for sharing it with me.
Rest easy my friend. I will miss you.

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Jessica published a tribute .

Dear Mike,
I want you to know how much of an impact you had on my career as a doctor. I have reflected on it these past several days. In this profession, we want to heal (I know very cliche to even write that), and most of us show up every day for our patients realizing many times there is nothing we can do to change their disease (especially in my field of genetics), but we come to work filled with hope and determined to do SOMETHING. Following your beautifully written story on Lea's page, and reading about the determination and grace with which you approached every day taught me how to cherish every movement, every relationship and be present for my patients. In college, I could at best call myself immature. I was driven, but not in a productive way. I was serious and letting life pass me by. You made jokes and at the time I found them annoying (to be honest). But as I matured and made my way on this path, I realized it was those moments where we laugh out loud that are most important. So, thank you Grover for everything you taught me. You leave a legacy behind that is greater and more far-reaching than you could ever imagine.

Sincerely,
Jessica (Bulbin) Duis

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Jen Schwartz published a tribute .

I love you so much....always and forever.

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Jen Schwartz published a tribute .

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Jen Schwartz published a tribute .

Sophia and Deborah's first birthday

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Jen Schwartz published a tribute .

Sophia & Deborah's first birthday

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Travis Hensersky published a tribute .

Mike standing at the lectern at Dove's wedding.

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Travis Hensersky published a tribute .

George was particularly fond of Michael. George handpicked Michael for the role of ring bearer. The reasons are obvious. Mike was as compassionate and kind as they come. The thing I will remember most about him is his willingness to take in and take care of anyone in need.

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Travis Hensersky published a tribute .

Mike looked absolutely adorable with his sister Carolyn during the wedding. Mike was the ring bearer and Carolyn was the flower girl.

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Travis Hensersky published a tribute .

Mike also had a knack for looking dapper ever since he was quite young. Here is a picture of him as a ring bearer for George and Dannette's wedding.

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Travis Hensersky published a tribute .

Mike began his role as a comforter at a remarkably young age. Even as a kid he had a special affinity for taking care of others. This is a picture of him soothing someone at George and Dannette's wedding.

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

2017 Mora wedding behind the scenes

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

2013

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

2013 4th of July

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

Last message.

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

I was.

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

Photos here and below 2018, video probably a few months earlier.

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

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Phil Forsyth published a tribute .

https://www.instagram.com/p/Buui0NKgCjh/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

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Tanya Flores published a tribute .

I will always hold Mike in my heart with my dear neice Lea the love of his life.

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Christiana Herbert published a tribute .

Your love story was a favorite. Your love for Lea, your daughters, and life itself is the standard by which we all should live. I’m grateful to have known you.

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Lea Grover published a comment .

I don't think I'd ever seen this picture before. Thank you, Christiana.

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Katie published a tribute .

Before the night is ended
Let us raise our glasses high
In a toast to the memories we cherish
Of the days gone swiftly by

To the friends we'll not forget them
Through the years that lie ahead
To Northwestern where we met them
and the wonderful life we had

We will miss you dearly, Grover. ❤️

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Christiana Herbert published a tribute .

Here’s the last message I sent in his last days:

Dear Mike,
I don’t know if you’ll read this but I want to send a message of gratitude and admiration for all that you are. You are an amazing human, father, and husband. Your example has set the bar so high and you’ve carried yourself with immense grace and strength. I’ve learned so much from you. I wish you safe passage into the next chapter. You are so loved.

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Katie Wirth - Northwestern Friend published a tribute .

Grover, I will miss knowing that your kind soul is in this world with me, but I take comfort in knowing you are looking down on us from above. Much love, Grover!

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Katie Lee Simmons published a tribute .

Mike was the biggest teddy bear and gentlest giant I ever knew. I met Mike when he sat next to me in our high school speech class. One of our first assignments was to introduce a new-to-you classmate to the rest of the class, and Mike turned to me to partner up. We spent a few minutes chatting, and I still remember when we stood up in front of the group, he gave a little general background on me, and then proceeded to crack jokes and/or flatter me so he could say "oh, and she's probably turning bright red right now" - which I 100% was. Mike has told dad jokes from the time we were teenagers!

Mike and I never dated (much to the dismay of my parents, who adored him from the moment they met him), but we were each others' platonic date for many a dance! The first was our high school Senior Homecoming dance - there was a school tradition that if you were going to the dance with a guy on the football team, you'd wear his team hoodie to the homecoming game. Mike, being a foot taller and (at the time), far heavier than I, had a hoodie I could have worn as a dress! I thought I was VERY cool to be going to the dance with a guy on the football team, even if Mike would tell you he rode the bench most of the time, and I wore that hoodie SO proudly!

When I was in college in Peoria, Illinois, I would drive up to see Mike at Northwestern pretty regularly if we had a school break, and he drove to Peoria to visit me a few times too. The next dance we went to was my sorority's semi-formal. I was perpetually single and in need of a date, and it was a perfect excuse to party with Mike. A few months later, about a week before his fraternity's formal, he and his then-girlfriend had just split up, so I drove up to be his date. On every occasion, Mike would tear up the dance floor like nobody's business! He was the best dance partner!

Mike was also a rock during hard times as well. I was with Mike when my parents called to tell me they were divorcing, and he was my shoulder to cry on and didn't bat an eye at my hysterics. When my sister was diagnosed with late-stage cancer, Mike spent nearly 3 hours on the phone with me, talking me through things and calming me down. When she passed, his heart broke along with mine. I'll never forget his compassion, and that Mike was a dear friend to me at times when I really didn't have many friends.

I'm so grateful to have been able to spend time with Mike and his family in November, when his parents and in-laws had to go back to their respective homes and Lea needed extra hands. It was priceless to spend that time with Lea and Mike and the girls, making memories, knowing it was most likely the last time I would see him.

I baked an apple pie while I was at their home, and wrapped it up and froze it so the Grovers could have it for Thanksgiving the next week, after I drove back home. The last time I spoke to Mike was the day after Thanksgiving, when he was eating my leftover pie. He wanted to let me know that, "it's delectable". It was so unnecessary for him to call for such a little thing, but it made me smile, and still makes me smile to think of now.

Above and through it all, Mike really exemplified kindness. His bear hugs were legendary. Though I'm heartbroken that he's gone, my life is immeasurably better for having had him in it.

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Erica Gannett published a tribute .

Mike was truly one of those people who truly embodied kindness. I'll never forget your wedding and witnessing how truly perfect your union was and wondering to myself when I'd find my perfect match. Lea and Mike's relationship was always an inspiration to me and I'm so happy they found each other even if it was brief and ended too soon. He will be missed by so many, continued to be loved and never forgotten. Thoughts and prayers to the Grover Family from Brooklyn.

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Jennifer Schwartz published a tribute .

Mike was the husband of storybooks and the dad I always wished for. He bled purple and white and was the Super-est Grover I ever knew. He always knew what to say, whether it was an off-hand compliment when my kids were feeling down or a dad joke groaner the second I walked in the door. He made people forget their troubles through laughter or even, when needed, those stern talks that were laced with love. I'm not sure Halloween or NYE celebrations will be the same without him. I will forever miss his perfect hugs.

Hi Hungry...I'm Sad.

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Nicole Taylor published a tribute .

I posted this to one of my running groups yesterday, because I couldn't figure out how to mourn Mike and celebrate Hunter's birthday on my own page simultaneously. I will continue to dedicate all of my runs this week to Mike, not that it means much for anyone other than me. He will be very sorely missed, but he will live on through you and the girls, and in the memory of anyone who has ever had the privilege to meet him.

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Adrienne Mundorf published a tribute .

Michael and I were cancer buds back in 2007, both diagnosed in our 20’s and navigating treatment along with work at OWP/P and busy social lives in Chicago. Since then, he grew an incredible family with Lea and lived far beyond expectations. Michael, your kindness, humor, and love of your family will be remembered.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/love-for-the-grover-family

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Jason Ray Hutchison published a tribute .

12/20/2020 Mike, I will never forget our conversations, how you introduced me to the artistry of classic rock, the footwork required of an offensive lineman, and the lessons of Minnesota childhood. We shared a lot of laughs with Kevin Tuazon and Michael Scalzitti on spring break at my parents' house in Florida, and a lot of fun playing intramural sports with Lambda Chi. I'm so grateful for your friendship and brotherhood. The road has been winding and difficult since our carefree days in college, and Lea Grover has been the most amazing partner and soul mate for you. It's easy to see the love between you both through your wonderful children. We love you, Mike, and your family. In ZAX

01/10/2021 Imagine a wave," he says. "Picture a wave in the ocean. It's only a shape, a constantly changing shape. You can measure it, it has height, depth, and velocity. You can watch it moving across the ocean, growing and changing. And eventually, the wave crashes against the shore. The wave is gone. But the water is still there." - Michael Grover
I miss you, Mike. I will never forget our friendship, in ZAX. Thank you, Lea Grover, for being such a wonderful soulmate for him and raising such an amazing family. You gave him the best years of his life, even through the ever-present shadow of death.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/love-for-the-grover-family

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Kris McDermott published a tribute .

The night before the twins were born, Mike and Lea came over to my ex and my apartment and we made soup. I remember Lea laying prone on the chaise part of the sofa, groaning, lightly slapping her belly and telling the girls to stop fighting. And I remember Mike turning to me and doing that wry half-smile he did so frequently and saying quietly, "And yet, despite everything, we are excited!"

Mike was so many things-- a genius engineering mind, a clever humorist, a comic fanatic-- but I think he was born to be a husband and a dad. Watching him interact with Lea and the girls has been a soothing balm for me as I have recovered from some terrible interactions with dudes-- Mike Grover was Non-Toxic Masculinity at its finest. He was SO excited to be a husband, to be a father. He was good at it in a way that was almost unnerving from the outside, in the same way that Lea took to being a mom instantly. He lit up when he'd talk about the girls as they grew. When Lea left the room at a party, he'd stay engaged, but subtly scan the room to see when she'd returned. He loved so fiercely. And when you got to be around Mike with his family, you felt that love radiating out like beams of sunlight, and it was just a privilege to bask in it for a little bit. And I know that love is still going to beam out of this family in the same way.

I'll miss having someone I can quote 90's lyrics and movies back and forth with for hours (much to the annoyance of literally everyone around us), and his hugs, and when he would laugh so hard that he'd quietly start to tear up. We didn't see each other as often as I'd have liked once the Grovers moved to the burbs, but I am forever grateful that I got to know him. I'm better for it.

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Miriam Mora published a tribute .

I never had a brother until Mike married my sister, and never knew that I wanted one. I don't know that I ever thought about it. By the time I wrapped my mind around Mike being my brother, we had become friends and had traded more X-men comics back and forth than I did with my friends from the comic shop. He was willing to speculate about the most minute details of the Marvel universe with me over Scotch, something most people would not (and honestly cannot) do to our degree of riduclous.

Mike met me during one of the hardest periods of my life, I was in transition, I was sad, and I was angry all the time. I'm sorry to say he got to know me at my worst, and has seen more of the bad in me than anyone but a sibling could. But he had patience for me, and gave me opportunities to grow and be a fuller person. He and Lea made me an Aunt. They built new limbs on our family tree, strengthening and diversifying us. I think of Mike's parents as family too, as we have gotten to spend more time together over the years of Mike's treatements than most people with our relationship would have done. Mike also didn't meet our sister Shana at her best, but he allowed himself to be flexible in his understsnding of all of us, and I feel that we all grew together over the years and really became family.

The joy he brought to Lea, from the time they met, and even in their darkest times, made her the happiest I've ever seen her. I have met few couples, ever, as perfect for each other as Lea and Mike, and few partners as supportive, loving, and caring as Mike has been for Lea. I see him constantly in each of his children, and am so grateful for the influence that he had on us, on them, and on everyone he knew.

He didn't like the "fighting" rhetoric around cancer, the terminology that makes it seem like a battle to be won or lost. The cancer took him, in the end, but if it were a battle, Mike won it. He didn't fight a war against his cancer, he and Lea didn't dig trenches and hunker down for battle, they refused to ready for battle in what they knew wasn't a fight, but a road to be walked. They walked it together and gathered their people on the way. And we're all here at the end, shocked, as we always were, that such a thing could be done with such apparent peace, grace, love, and joy. Winning cancer. I can't imagine how our family is going to look now, with such a massive hole in it, but I am so grateful to Mike for all he is leaving us to remember him.

My brother, you are and will be forever loved and missed.

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Lynn Anderson published a comment .

Miriam, this is a beautiful tribute. I didn't have the opportunity to know Mike well, but one thing I will always remember is — exactly as you said: cancer was not a battle to be won, but a road to be walked. And he walked it without self-pity and with astonishing dignity and grace.

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Shelli Grover published a tribute .

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