Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Bidding Mike Farewell
I just learned what so many of Mike's worldwide family of friends will be devastated to learn -- that he passed away this morning.
Mike has been battling cancer for more than a year, always (and I mean always) with a positive spirit and a concern for those around him during this incredible passage.
There will be a time for memorials -- and for the joy that Mike inspired in all around him. But for the moment, it's OK for those of us who loved him to simply be sad.
What can one say? I am devastated by this news, Charlie. Mike was my co-author, my friend, my mentor, my hero. He remained so incredibly optimistic through this battle. I learned so much from the man -- about law but more importantly about life. How to put the small stuff in perspective and focus on what counts -- family, good friends, making a difference. Oh dear, I will miss him so much.
Posted by: Susan Bisom-Rapp | Sep 23, 2015 3:51:08 PM
What a terrible loss. I've known Mike for more than four decades and always found him one of the smartest and most original people I dealt with. Unlike many lawyers at my law firm, Mike took the time to help me even when I was the lowliest summer clerk in the office. I'll miss him.
Posted by: Dennis Nolan | Sep 23, 2015 4:15:03 PM
Mike was a mentor and friend, and one of the most generous people I have ever met. He always found the time to help the more junior members of the academy, and he really set the welcoming tone we all feel in the labor and employment law community. This is a terrible loss, and Mike will truly be missed by everyone.
Posted by: Joe Seiner | Sep 23, 2015 8:42:12 PM
So sorry to see this. I will miss him for his wisdom & guidance & good spirit.
Posted by: Miriam Cherry | Sep 23, 2015 8:59:06 PM
There are no words for how profoundly shocked I am. I assume, like many others, I had no idea Mike was even sick.
Of course, that was Mike. Selfless to a fault, always talking about others rather than himself. He was brilliant, warm, acerbic, a Marquette Law alum, a Teamster, a tireless member of the ALI, and the list goes on and on.
Mike was a mensch and I am in tears.
Posted by: Paul Secunda | Sep 24, 2015 1:21:51 AM
Mike was for me not only a guide but also family during my period in Chicago in 2012. I'll terribly miss him and the nice emails that he used to send me from time to time. With him is going away from my heart a piece of joy.
Posted by: francesca Marinelli | Sep 24, 2015 3:07:48 AM
Sad news indeed. Over 30 years ago, Mike was my first year Con Law teacher at Seton Hall. Classes were never dull and several of his off-beat expressions still resonate with me. One of the best teachers I have ever had.
His and Charlie’s book on employment discrimination has been an inspiration for me to write on that topic over the years. I was particularly honored that he wrote a generous review of my GISO discrimination book when it was published last year.
Posted by: Christine Michelle Duffy | Sep 24, 2015 3:52:31 AM
What a gut punch, especially to his family. This is obviously a huge loss intellectually for the labor and employment field, but even worse is the absence of his influence on others. As this thread has begun to show, Mike was always generous with his time and encouragement for others, especially junior faculty, and I consider myself very lucky to have been a recipient of that generosity. He also always struck me as one of the most happy people I ever knew. I guess if there's a shred of a silver lining, it's that although far too short, Mike managed to live a life of happiness that will be long remembered by the many people he has helped along the way.
Posted by: Jeff Hirsch | Sep 24, 2015 5:39:03 AM
Let me add my voice to the growing chorus. Mike was one of the most selfless people I have ever met. He was constantly thinking about how best to mentor students and junior colleagues, with never a thought for how it would affect him personally. He was a true friend and inspiration, and I am deeply saddened to lose him.
Posted by: Richard Bales | Sep 24, 2015 5:50:24 AM
Like many, I am quite surprised and sad to hear of Mike's passing. I will remember his insights, his passion, his kindness, and especially his incredible generosity,
Posted by: Sachin Pandya | Sep 24, 2015 5:58:35 AM
I feel about Mike the same way lots of others clearly do, too. I was struck the last time I saw him and Margaret about how positive he was, how focused on the fun and goodness of life and relationships, both family and friends. His generosity and advice have helped me so many times. It's hard for me to think of our field without him still in it.
Posted by: Marcia | Sep 24, 2015 6:38:48 AM
At a time when I was considering my own happiness as a birthday approached, I am struck with grief. Mike was always a positive and accommodating mentor for me as an employment law professor. Always thoughtful and willing to help a junior colleague. He will truly be missed. Rest in peace.
Posted by: Michael Green | Sep 24, 2015 6:42:05 AM
I am heartbroken, as I know all of us who were fortunate enough to have Mike in our lives. He was undoubtedly one of the best people I have had the privilege to know. He was an outstanding mentor, friend, scholar, teacher and most importantly, a man who loved his family deeply and with great pride. We have lost one of the very best.
Posted by: Rebecca White | Sep 24, 2015 6:55:29 AM
I just walked by Mike's office. On his desk are projects at various stages of completion: A class roster on his desk, a new case book to review, an open three ring binder with papers for the beginnings of some plan. I spoke to him not a week or two ago about writing plans he had. Some of the paintings on his wall those of you who visited him in the last four decades would readily recognize, like his student-drawn Tort poster. Other objects on his wall are far newer, such as his UW-Madison certificate for delivering the Fairchild Lecture in 2012.
I will deeply miss him. Marcia McCormick and I first met Mike when he visited and the two of us VAPed at Chicago-Kent, where he was deeply involved in the intellectual life of the school, and I was fortunate to have had the chance to work with him at Loyola and to learn from his bountiful wisdom. As recently as May, we were at a conference where he was giving out his sage advice on Marcia's new article.
While he is no longer with us, I am certain that his words, ideas, and instructions will help guide me throughout my life.
Posted by: Alexander Tsesis | Sep 24, 2015 9:29:26 AM
This is a tremendous loss. I am sad that the people entering our field now will not know Mike's kindness and welcoming, mentoring spirit, but I am happy that so many of us had that privilege. Rest in peace, Mike.
Posted by: Scott Bauries | Sep 24, 2015 9:45:41 AM
So sorry to hear this. Mike was such a good, decent, and thoughtful person. His posts on Jotwell are emblematic of his scholarly approach – curious about new ideas, excited about the work of junior scholars, fierce in his commitment to workplace fairness and employees’ rights. We will miss him.
Posted by: Matt Bodie | Sep 24, 2015 9:58:33 AM
I was so sad to hear this. Mike was a rare combination of incredibly smart and talented but also kind and thoughtful. I hope there will be more opportunities to celebrate both his scholarship but also the person he was. One small story. Several years ago, at the Seton Hall forum, we got hit with a storm just as we were finishing up. All of us sprinted to the airport, trying desperately to get flights. We all failed and wound up sleeping either in the airport or an airport hotel. Mike, wiser than all of us, simply spread out in the Seton Hall faculty lounge and spent the night there.
As others have said, his memory will be a blessing. And may all of us work to elevate his memory by continuing his good work and humanity.
Posted by: Michael Waterstone | Sep 24, 2015 10:06:55 AM
So very sorry to hear this. Such a good person, such a terrible loss
Posted by: Zachary Kramer | Sep 24, 2015 10:08:56 AM
Mark was a wonderful human being and law professor. As with many employment discrimination law professors, I can remember all the help he gave me in this field. I will always be grateful to him and we will miss him.
Posted by: Joan Vogel | Sep 24, 2015 10:19:54 AM
I am deeply sorry to hear this. Mike was a great friend and a true mentor to me and, it seems, to virtually every other person in our field.
Posted by: J. Bent | Sep 23, 2015 2:27:53 PM