Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Michael “Mike” Wladysiak would agree that life was never dull when he was around. He indulged in the fullness of every moment he was given, and he did his best to make sure those around him loved life as much as he did. Mike made no secret of the fact that he was married to the love of his life, and together they were filled with unspeakable joy to witness their family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who filled his heart with joy. Nothing was better than enjoying the peace and serenity of his summer home, and what made this place the very best was sharing it with the ones he loved. With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Mike created a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of the nation were focused overseas, but with the war’s end in 1945 countless young servicemen and women returned home to resume their civilian lives once again. Manufacturing was no longer needed to support the war effort, and rationing had become a distant memory. Amidst this eventful time, Adam and Doris (Kiehler) Wladysiak were filled with great anticipation as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the beauty of spring began to unfold in Detroit, Michigan, in 1949. The big day finally arrived when they were pleased to announce the birth of the healthy baby boy they named Michael on April 28th. He was the second of four children in his family and was raised in Detroit alongside his older sister, Pam, and his younger siblings, Adam and Penny.
In many ways, Michael, or Mike as he was usually known, was a young boy of his generation. His father supported his family as an autoworker, which was common for people in the area, while his mother was a busy homemaker. Mike attended Detroit Public Schools, graduating from Chadsey High School in 1967. Not long after graduating, Mike joined the United States Army on February 29, 1968. He went on to serve a four year term.
Not to be forgotten during Mike’s years as a young man was his introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Cathy Rybinski, and sparks flew right from the start. They began dating, and it wasn’t long before they found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Mike and Cathy were married on July 4, 1968. Together they welcomed three children including Mike Jr., Matt, and Nikki into their hearts and home. There was nothing that Mike loved more than his family, and he was overjoyed when his children married. Big family gatherings for Christmas were among his favorite times, and he was so excited each time a grandchild was born that he was at the hospital awaiting the good news.
Throughout his life Mike was known for his strong work ethic. He spent 38 years working for the Ford Motor Company before retiring in 2007. Mike took great pride in his work, and he enjoyed working for Ford. He was so grateful that Ford paid for the classes he needed to learn how to do car bodywork, and they also paid for a class that allowed him to get his builder’s license. He put these skills to good use, too, as his greatest accomplishment was building his summer home in Presque Isle. After retiring, he loved spending his entire summer at his summer home.
As his family and friends can attest, Mike was always a bustle of activity. He and Cathy took several cruises over the years including a Hawaiian cruise in 2008. They also enjoyed several trips to Disney World. Mike looked forward to the end of each year, when he and Cathy would take their yearly trip to Las Vegas, and he could spend his time playing his favorite game of Black Jack. He also went scuba diving in Cozumel, Key West, and the Caymen Islands. Mike spoiled and treasured his Chihuahuas, and while up north he always kept the deer and other wild animals well fed as he loved watching the animals eat while he was drinking his morning coffee. He went deer hunting and fishing, enjoyed waterskiing, and dabbled in underwater photography. Mike also enjoyed bowling and boating, and as a longtime resident of his community, he was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose, Polish Legion of American Veterans, and the American Legion. He rode his Harley, loved his ’79 Corvette, and was preparing to restore his ’57 Chevy. After being diagnosed with his illness, Mike created a bucket list, which is how he came to own a Corvette and enjoyed a hunting reunion with two of his Army buddies in November of 2013. Loyal to his home teams, he often watched the Detroit Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings in addition to Michigan football. Although Mike enjoyed several television shows, his favorite just may have been Sons of Anarchy. He liked reading Stephen King novels and listening to Bob Seger.
Whether he was impersonating his wife’s idol saying, “Thank you, thank you very much,” in his best Elvis voice, enjoying a ride on his motorcycle, or listening to his favorite tunes, Mike did it all with great gusto. He was never one to worry about what he had, rather, his focus was on how he could bless those around him. Mike’s family knew that he loved them to the moon and back, and a friend of Mike’s was a friend for life. Although life will never be the same without him here, the lives of countless others will be forever changed because of his touch.
Michael A. Wladysiak passed away peacefully on May 8, 2015, at the age of 66, with his family by his side. Beloved husband of Catherine for 47 years. Loving father of Michael (Anastasia), Matthew (Charla), and Nikki (Rich) Bray. Cherished grandfather of Kyle, Jarod, Jacob, Alyssa, and Meghan. Dear brother of Pam, Penny, and the late Adam. He is also survived by many other loving family and friends. The family will be holding a private burial at a later date. Sign the guest book and share memories at: www.TurowskiLifeStory.com