Marshall McLean “Mike” Michael Jr., 93 of Newport, passed away peacefully in his home on August 21, 2022. He was born in Lexington, NC on February 3, 1929. He attended school in Lexington until he begged his parents to allow him to enlist in the US Navy, toward the end of WWII, in February of 1945. After basic training, the “Eager Young Buck” was shipped off to Korea. While awaiting orders to be sent off to the Pacific theater to fight, he contracted a severe case of spinal meningitis. After a near death experience and a long recovery, he and was honorably discharged from the Navy in August of 1946. Mike realized that military life suited him well, so in 1947 he enlisted in the US Army. His first orders sent him to Fort Adams in Newport. Mike was there until the base closed in 1950.
While at Fort Addams, he met the love of his life, Kathleen Brannigan, at the roller-skating rink across from Easton’s Beach and they later married in 1949 at St. Augustin’s Church. Living the life as a soldier, kept the young family moving from base to base so Mike decided to hang up his stripes in 1953 and moved the family back to Mike’s hometown to start his journey as a civilian. Mike had a great love of cars, so he then took advantage of the GI bill to learn a trade in auto mechanics. The family stayed in Lexington for a few years, but Mike saw that Kathleen was homesick for Newport, so he moved the family moved back in 1957. Mike found work as a mechanic for Don Geyer Buick and also worked other various jobs to support his growing family. In 1961, he was hired at the Naval Education and Training Center where he worked and thrived until his retirement in 1988. After retirement, he and Kathleen focused on travel for a bit but with Mike missing a daily routine, he took a job with The Newport Police Department, performing “Out of State” vehicle ID. Inspections. He worked there for over thirty years until the ripe young age of 91. He loved his co-workers and the officers, to whom he had lasting relationships with, until his passing. Mike was very passionate about faith, family, and community. He loved people and always greeted them with his southern charm and a big smile. Mike had a great love of cooking and enjoyed all types of cuisine… especially spicy food! He was known for his delicious “Corned Beef Sandwiches” on St. Paddy’s parade day, and who could forget his infamous “Hee Haw Night” back in the 1970’s. He loved to cook for crowds and always made sure people didn’t leave hungry. He was a dedicated member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, where he received the Hibernian of the Year Award in 1997. Mike was also a proud member of the Knights of Columbus Newport Division, an associate member of the Fraternal Order of Police, and one of The Fifth Ward Outing organizers, which took place in the summer in Morton Park. He also served for many years as an Usher at St. Augustin’s Church, where the parishioners knew him well.
Mike leaves behind his wife, Kathleen E. (Brannigan) Michael, children Thomas Michael of NY State, Kevin Michael (Krista) of Middletown, Gary Michael (Ellen) of Newport, Deborah Michael (Alan), of California, Cheryl Lamoureux (Michael) of Indiana and David Michael (Jessica) of Jamestown. He is preceded by his brothers Vincent and Ronald, and his sister Christine Michael.
Visiting hours will be held Friday, August 26 from 4-7 pm at O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Saturday Aug. 27 at St. Augustin’s Church, corner of Carroll Ave & Harrison Ave, Newport at 10:00 am. Burial with Military Honors will follow at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown. A gathering for friends and family will be held after the funeral at the Wyndham Hotel in Middletown.
Any donations can be made to the Newport FOP Lodge #8, 120 Broadway, Newport, RI or to the Hibernian Scholarship Fund, 2 Wellington Ave, Newport, RI 02840.
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