Michael loved life and lived it to the fullest. He did more in his short 27 years than most do in a full lifetime. He will be missed terribly by all those whose lives he touched.

Memories of Michael

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From: James Fus (2005)

I remember meeting Mike when he was in 7th or 8th grade. Angie and I went back to the farmhouse in Donnellson and met the whole family. Mike was the little red headed kid brother who I was instantly able to relate to having grown up with two older sisters myself. As time went on, I will always remember Mike and his love for the movie Caddy Shack. I don't think a day went by where he didn't use a reference to that movie. I think Matt and Mike always had to try to out due each other with a better line. I didn't have to see the movie anymore because I had my own personal version with Mike.

Mike was the first one that really pushed me to learn how to play golf. Angie was a great golfer in her own, but I couldn't let her kid brother beat me every time I played with him. I don't think I ever came close to beating him. I will never forget the time when we were at the Donnellson golf course and it had rained during the round of golf. Mike was driving the cart and next thing I know we are going down the hill on the 7th or 8th hole; Mike slams on the brakes and cranks the wheel to the left. We are spinning out of control down the wet grass and I am about to fall out of the cart. Mike is giggling with a smile the whole time.

There was the time when Angie called home to check up on Mike because their Mom and Dad were out of town and Jen was gone too. Sure enough, Mike was having a “small get together” at their house. Angie was beside herself knowing that they were probably drinking and up to no good. Next thing I know, we are in my car driving from Iowa City to Donnellson. We arrive at the house around midnight and we walk in through the garage., Angie is a little upset and I am there walking in behind her with my head hanging low. I know she did the right thing, but as a high-school sophomore, I knew the last thing you want is your older sister coming home to break up your party.

The one moment that will always stick with me and the rest of my college buddies is when Mike came to visit Angie and Jen during his senior year in high school. Someone found him a fake ID (had to be really fake since he always looked like he was 12), so Big Eddy (Jason Wisehart), John Schumacher, Angie, Jen and I all took Mike to the Sports Column. We had a good time drinking a few beers, sharing a few shorts and best of all hanging out and just having a good time. We turn around and a bachelorette party walks in with the bride-to-be wearing a suck for a buck t-shirt. Of course I had to by Mike a few chances of getting a Life Saver from this kind girl. The girls in the party were talking to us about a list of itmes they needed to have the bride do through the night. One thing we pointed out to them is that the item of “kissing a minor” was not on the list. As soon as we mentioned that, we turn around and Mike and the Bride are sitting on the bar stool lip locked. At that point, we knew Iowa City girls had their hands full in the years to come.

Mike was the one guy who my friends and I still knew in Iowa City a few years after we graduated. We would always make it a point to meet up with Mike every time we were in town. He made it possible for us to re-live our college years. When I started working at Accenture, I had the chance to go back to Iowa a few times a year to recruit. I knew Krista Beymer, the HR recruiting lead for Iowa, and introduced her to Mike. It was getting to the point when Mike was looking for an internship between his junior and senior year and I knew he would be a great fit at Accenture. Krista made sure he went thorugh the interview process and his hiring was a no brainer. He fit all the qualities they loked for in an intern, leadership, personality, driven, excellent student, activities outside the classroom and skills that relate to consulting projects. When Mike came to Chicago to begin his internship, I had the honor of being his “mentor” for the summer. This was an easy job because Mike didn't need much mentoring besides showing him around to some of the neighborhood bars.

Once Mike took his job at Accenture we moved to Chicago, it was nice to have a guy I had known forever to go hang out with, watch an Iowa game or grab a beer with on the weekend. Whenever we would be going to Sedgewick's to watch an Iowa game, we could always count in Mike being there to cheer on the Hawks. No matter when we were there, Mike always knew at least 3-4 people. It always amazed me how many people he knew for being in the city for such a short amount of time.

Speaking of Iowa games, Mike road tripped with my wife Allison, her friend Julia and I to Michigan in 2002. The year that we handed Michigan their worst loss at home in many years.

We were on our way to Ann Arbor on that Friday early in the evening; about an hour out when we ran into a traffic jam that brought traffic to a complete stop. We sat there for probably about 30 minutes not moving at all. People started to get out of their cars, so sure enough, right there on Interstate 94, Mike gets out and starts going up and down the highway talking to all the Iowa fans on their way to the game. I believe he even stood out there playing catch with a football with one of the fans. Mike also made the ride home very enjoyable by giving Allison and Julia (Michigan Alum) a hard time for the loss.

When my 30th birthday rolled around, Allison decided to throw me a surprise party. Who did she call on the help arrange it, but Mike. The plan was to rent out a room in the basement of Sedgewick's for the Iowa/Minnesota game. If Iowa wins that game, we go to a BCS game for sure. Allison knew I wanted to go watch the game, so she had Mike and John Schumacher make plans with me to go watch it. We drove over to pick up Mike and as usual, I was worried that we would be late and miss the kick-off. Allison didn't want us to get there too early because she knew people would still be showing up, so she asked Mike to stall us some. He made me stop for money at Walgreen's and he said he also had to get a bottle of OJ. Needless to say, I was very surprised at my party and Allison was very thankful for Mike helping her out.

Baseball, a sport that Mike really loved. I know he was supposed to be a die-hard Cardinal fan, but I know for a fact he was actually a closet Cubs fan. One evening in the summer of 2003, Allison and I were riding our bikes home from a Cubs game and ran into Mike on the street walking home from a buddy's house. The Cubs were in the playoff race and the city was buzzing. Every night was a party. As we are standing there talking to Mike, I notice a white shirt under his sweatshirt with blue pinstripes. I asked him if it was a Cubs jersey and he dropped his head and admitted so. Thankfully I had my camera with me, so I told him he had to pose for a picture with Allison so I had proof.

His love for the Cubs didn't stop there. There is a group of my friends that have six season tickets for the Cubs games each year and in 2004 we had an opening for one person to join. I decided to ask Mike and sure enough, he got in on the package with us. So even a diehard “Cardinal” fan owned a Cubs jersey and Season Tickets to the Cubs.

I know he is up there cheering on the Hawks, so I think we should make a pack that if (when) Iowa goes to the National Championship game in Football (or basketball), we have a huge tailgater in his honor and collect donations for his scholarship fund.

I know Mike is dearly missed by everyone that had a chance to know him. I can say I am one of the lucky one's that had the chance to know Mike for many years. Being a part of his life as he grew up in Junior High, High School, College and onto his professional career, I was truly blessed by Mike's friendship. Having never lost such a close friend before, I can honestly say that there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him.

James Fus

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