Michael "Mike" Bleecker
This world lost a tremendous individual, Mike Bleecker, on July 29, 2017. Mike passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by his wife and children. He was a beloved father, husband, brother and friend and is deeply missed.
Michael Dale Bleecker was born in Great Falls, on March 12, 1945, to Ralph and Evelyn (Bates) Bleecker. There he grew up with his three siblings. During summers, Mike worked on his grandfather’s ranch; a time which formed his work ethic, many skill sets and character. At age 17 he enlisted in the Army, serving two tours as a heavy equipment mechanic in the 80th Battalion, touring both Vietnam and Thailand.
Upon his return to the States, Mike worked a number of jobs and raced amateur motocross. He found his way to Alaska where he worked for an excavator based in Anchorage. During this time, Mike met Susan Flanagin, who became his wife and mother to his children. They married in 1977 in Missoula, and together would raise Kathleen and Steven.
In 1980 Mike started a furniture business that, with his brother’s partnership, would become Bleecker Furniture, known as "The Biggest Little Store in Town." This enterprise, based in Missoula, maintained a manufacturing, retail and wholesale business for over 20 years.
Mike and Susan divorced in 1996 and later Mike would meet his second love, Kathleen Doyle, affectionately known as Kate. The two would marry in Missoula in 2002. Their life together was cut short by the untimely death of Kate in 2006.
In 2008, during retirement, love came calling again when Mike met Flo Burk. After years of courtship, this serendipitous meeting led to marriage in 2015. The two enjoyed many happy years together. This time included a cruise to Hawaii that sparked Mike’s affinity for tropical-patterned shirts. Ever the loving caregiver and wife, Flo would tirelessly remain by Mike’s side until his death.
Mike excelled at captivating his audience with bold retellings of his experiences and his thoughts on life. He had a way of seeing the funny beauty of what it is to be alive. Mike was a kind, generous, loving, and patient man. He was a skilled craftsman who liked a good poem, a stiff drink and a good laugh.
Mike is survived by his cherished wife, Flo; and his brother, Doug Bleecker and sister, Diane (Dick) Killion; and his children, Kathleen (Nate) Donaldson, and Steven (Rebekah and Hudson) Bleecker.
A celebration of his life will be held at The Town & Country Lounge at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28.