At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
2100 Michigan Street
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235-3710
Portage Parks and Recreation
7900 South Westnedge
Portage, MI 49002
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
During his 60 years, Michael “Mike” Biljum inspired many. A man of high moral character Mike’s compassion and convictions ran deep. With a boundless passion for life, Mike carved each day in loving service to others. A man of many talents, Mike knew his good fortune in being blessed to share life with his beautiful children and grandchildren, and he embraced this privilege in being a solid provider and a giving mentor. To all who knew him, Mike was a gift and inspirational man who strived to make each day his best. Though his time here was much too short, his legacy leaves a lasting imprint on the hearts and lives of those he treasured most.
1956 proved a year of vibrant growth with consumerism taking off in previously unimaginable ways. For the first time in history, seven out of ten families in the US owned an automobile, and new laws were created to require seat belts to be installed on all new cars. The new home market exploded and a baby boom fill those homes. McDonald’s, TV dinners, canned Coca-Cola, Legos, Velcro, and The Mickey Mouse Club all became household mainstays. Rock and Roll music continued to grow in popularity with new idols including Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and The Platters. Locally, this time of peace and plenty grew especially bright as Larry and Patricia (Bloom) Biljum welcomed the third of their four children, Michael into their hearts and homes on October 16th.
Michael grew up in Portage, MI with the comforts of loving parents and the good company of his three siblings Cathy, Chris, and Candy. Larry and Patricia raised their children with solid middle-class values firmly rooted in family, hard work and skilled trades, and a powerful reverence for nature. Mike’s family was very close. Each member knew without hesitation that they could totally count on the others. These early years powerfully formed Mike’s lifelong passion for family and service. From the start, Mike loved the outdoors where he spent the bulk of his childhood playing ball with neighborhood friends and fishing. Without a doubt, Mike felt most at home walking and exploring the woods, casting a line and patiently waiting for a strike, or relishing in the warmth and crackle of a campfire.
After graduating from Portage Central High School in 1975, Mike attended some classes at KVCC. Though the classes were good, Mike recognized that his real passions were best framed by following in his father’s craft as a carpenter. Mike soon became his father’s apprentice learning and honing his trade with a deep sense of honor and pride. Under his father’s mentoring, Mike embraced his life compass, building the skills that would carry his father's legacy. Over time Mike’s grit helped him grow into a Jack-of-all trades who could truly fix or build anything.
During high school, Mike met Cindy Phelps. The two married and welcomed three much-cherished children into their family. While raising Jayme, Lucas, and Kaitlyn and over the course of their 30-year marriage, Mike and his dad built two houses for his family. He was a wonderful father who took tremendous pride in his family and generously taught his children everything he knew. Mike’s parenting seamlessly dovetailed with the values he inherited from his parents. He firmly believed that a job worth doing was a job worth doing “the right way” and that cutting corners was simply not an option. Centered in his Christian faith, Mike felt inherently called to be of service to others while striving to be better today than yesterday. He practiced these principles with each project he tackled, and during the 23 years, he served as a Chemical Operator at Upjohn.
Mike truly loved life and he embraced each day with enthusiasm. He loved animals, the outdoors, and fast cars. Many a day was spent fishing, hunting, tinkering, and drag racing at Martin Speedway. He enjoyed the challenges of working on cars, driving fast, and learning from watching other racers. Mike treasured nothing more than the time he spent with his children and grandchildren. It was in their company that his heart filled with complete delight. Their joy was his joy. It was in their eyes that Mike knew the fullness of his life, and in their hearts, his beautiful legacy shall powerfully live on.
Clearly, Mike’s unexpected checkered flag has smoked many tires. While his trusted and capable Pit Crew begins the work of dialing it in, may their hearts be comforted by the faith that Mike has successfully arrived at Eternity’s Strip, and he is joyfully reminiscing his E.T. with a smile of gratitude and heart filled with love.
Michael “Mike” Biljum, age 60, of Portage passed away suddenly at his home on February 14, 2017. Visit with his family and friends and view his life story film on Thursday, February 23 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, Portage; 5975 Lovers Lane (269 344-5600). A memorial service will be held on Friday, February 24 at 11:00 am at the same location. Mike’s family includes his children: Jayme (Diane) Biljum, Lucus Biljum and Kaitlyn Biljum; siblings: Cathy (Jim) Campbell, Chris (Chuck) Gibson, Candy (Mike) Markus; 6 grandchildren: Matthew, Slone, Allison, Emily, Jack and Brewtus; as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents. Mike graduated from Portage Central in 1975. Please visit Mike’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a memory or photo and sign his memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to Whitetails Unlimited or Portage Parks and Recreation.