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Michael “Mike” Lee DeLano


Michael “Mike” Lee DeLano, age 59 of Grand Rapids, passed away suddenly September 19, 2023, due to a workplace accident. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Patricia DeLano; and sister, Denise Marie DeLano. He is survived by his wife, Marcia; brother, Dennis DeLano-Taylor (Merritt); nephews, Patrick and newborn Charlie; uncle, Franklin (Marjorie); and support kitties, Spocky and Smocky.

Mike was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on September 15, 1964, the son of Patricia and Richard DeLano. He graduated from East Grand Rapids High School and then from Central Michigan University with a degree in Communications.

Mike was an outdoorsman who held a diverse interest in long distance starting with outdoor track meets in high school to bike riding, hiking, walking, and disc golfed at every opportunity. He enjoyed his youth fishing at a family cottage and in recent years helping to manage and restore his maternal grandmother’s homestead in northern Michigan, with whom he was close with as a young adult.

He did not have either interests/passions, rather like many of us, he held many over his lifetime. From his first Camaro at age 16, to his convertible phase and then to Silverado trucks in his more recent times. Many of his friends recall his passion for cinematography in movies, to his late night reads of comic books and then to reading series non-fiction books. Traveling with his family around the world and the self-seeking solo exploratory journeys across the country. Mikes interest in world history led him to have a passion and interest in military implements, gear, clothing, and strategy.

Curious, passionate, and forthright, he would help anyone who asked for it and stood up for the underserved, the overlooked, and the marginalized. He had a relaxed temperament and had the ability to defuse challenging situations at work with coworkers. He was a thoughtful thinker and found creating poetry to be a great outlet during times of stress.
Mike could also be described as a seeker, collector, and storyteller. A conversation with him could settle on a moment of personal or US history (a passion he gleaned from his mother) or current topics and events that he would bring to life in vividly detailed descriptions.

Mike was technically skilled and a hard worker, he enjoyed a variety of careers in his lifetime in communications, marketing, and operations. It wasn’t until Mike worked at the United States Postal Office, where he met and then married, Marcia. At one time, he assisted his father in managing multiple family-owned properties and other helped with other family businesses over the years.

Most recently, Mike found his passion working outdoors with a team of groundskeepers at Grand Rapids Public Schools. Mike found his work tribe and thought of his peers more as family than co-workers. The district and its senior leadership have acknowledged his many contributions and dedication to the team and school district. Mike felt the strong connection not only with his peers but also because his mother had been a lifelong educator in the GRPS school system. When he passed, he was doing work he loved with people he considered his tribe.

The family will meet with friends during visitation hours between 3-5PM & 6-8 PM on Monday, September 25, 2023, at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at 11AM with a final visitation starting an hour before at the funeral home. Interment will be at Kent Memorial Gardens. Memorial gift contributions in Mike’s honor, may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – (JDRF) Michigan/Ohio Chapter

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13 Responses

  1. What a lovely write-up. I did not know him but got such a clear picture of an interesting man! Much peace to the family.

  2. My deepest sympathies to the family. Thanks for such a thoughtful and thorough tribute. At your father’s service I got to reconnect and sensed Mike’s sensitive spirit.

  3. Mike was a rare and true person.We are so sorry that we will miss hearing his amazing resonant voice again,

    We send our heartfelt wishes for peace to Dennis Marcia Merritt and the boys!

    Love Martina and John and family

  4. Mike was a great guy. Everyone at Eastbrook Twin Theater really enjoyed Mike’s charisma and zest for life. He was only 21 years old when I first met him. We were a crew of astronomers, museum geeks, movie enthusiasts, popcorn snobs and poets. Mike fit right in. We all are richer for having known him.

  5. Mike could talk your ear off. I recall many evening visits from Mike to our home in Heritage Hill in the 1980s when after an evening of interesting and insightful talk I would have to inform Mike that I had to go to bed, but if he wanted to stick around he could. He wrote poetry with our poetry clan, the Twilight Tribe, and was always eager to talk philosophically about poetry and a million other interesting things. I always enjoyed his expansive and empathic take on his world. He hung out with me at the Eastown Theatre when I was the manager projectionist there. What a guy. This is terrible news, his passing. I moved from GR in 1990 and we had recently reconnected through Facebook. We had a number of phone conversations since then and had hoped to be able to get together again. Damn.

  6. Michael was the sweetest person! I loved when he came to my desk and asked me to help him with something. He was soft spoken, very humble and would do anything for anybody. I truly feel blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know Michael, and that he was part of my work family! Heaven has gotten one the best!

  7. I knew Mike since he was 17 years old. I worked with him in different settings but he was more than a pleasant and fun co-worker, he was a life-long friend. I was his supervisor at Breakthrough Surveys where he did consumer research interviews over the phone. Anyone who knew Mike will recall his smooth “radio voice” which was perfect for telephone work. That voice will really be missed. I would often deliver his paycheck to Mulligan’s Pub where he worked as a friendly doorman. He may have looked like a bouncer, but Mike was really the sweetest soul. I also had the pleasure of working with Mike at the Wealthy theater where he was 35 mm film projectionist. That job had some high stress factors but relaxed Mike had the ability to remain calm under any circumstance. Beyond the tech booth, Mike had a life-long love of films and would come in on days off to watch movies. I also knew his sister, Denise and when she passed away, I told Mike I’d be his sister. He referred to me as his sister, so I am heartbroken as all who knew Mike. R.I.P.

  8. Dennis, may our heartfelt condolences bring you and your family comfort and our prayers ease the pain of this loss. Because we know in his arms there is strength to hold you, grace to sustain you and love to carry you through.
    Leila, Dan and Cheniece

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Make a Contribution

Memorial Contributions:

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – (JDRF) Michigan/Ohio Chapter