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Michael McGuire


1950 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Michael McGuire Obituary
McGuire, Michael James

February 21, 1950 - August 13, 2014

Michael McGuire, of Laguna Niguel, California, tragically and unexpectedly passed away on Wednesday August 13, 2014 from complications of a stroke as he recovered from recent surgery. His family and dear friends were grateful to be able to say farewell and be with him and surround him with love.

Michael was born in Long Beach to George and Frankie McGuire. He was "big brother" to his sister Sharon and brother Richard. George was in the Army and his family moved many times, including time spent in Alaska and New Jersey, before they settled in Hanford, California when Michael was in middle school. Michael went on to find his lifelong joy and passion in football, a sport he played at both Hanford and McLane High Schools in the Central Valley. After high school, he continued on the gridiron as a collegiate athlete, representing Allan Hancock Jr. College and Cal Lutheran University, the latter at which he was a member of the school's 1971 NAIA National Championship football team.

In 1972, Michael enlisted in the Army and served his country for three years, first in Georgia and then overseas in Germany. Returning home, he completed his BA in history at Cal Lutheran, and he subsequently earned a secondary teaching credential at Cal Lutheran and a Master's Degree from the University of LaVerne. The education paid dividends, allowing him to pursue his lifelong calling as a high school history teacher and coach for over thirty years in California. He touched countless lives through his teaching and coaching, and remained in contact with many of his former students that he taught at Paraclete Catholic High School in Lancaster (1977-90), at Tehachapi High School (1990-91), and at Laguna Beach High School (1991-2009).

Michael was an excellent but demanding teacher, pushing his students to excel, to think critically, and to strive to give their best. He was tough but fair, and he loved teaching both AP US History and AP European History. His students worked hard and were always prepared. Many will tell you that he was the most demanding teacher they ever had, and it is often heard that he was one of those teachers who made a difference in the lives of his students.

He also made a difference in the lives of the student athletes whom he coached. Indeed, Michael's passion for playing football translated into a love for coaching the sport, something he had the pleasure of doing at Paraclete, Tehachapi, Laguna Beach, Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, and - after he had retired from teaching - at Trabuco Hills High School. In total, he coached for 37 years, and he would tell you that he always wanted his players to have the same wonderful experience that he had in high school. He would tell you that coaches have to be teachers, and that is what he was, forever striving to help young men learn life and team skills that would stay with them forever. He especially loved the camaraderie and friendship with his fellow coaches, and took pleasure in watching his beloved Bruins of UCLA and Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. In other words - he coached, watched, talked, and breathed football.

Yet Michael's true love was his wife Nancy, whom he met and married in 1975. Nancy is a retired elementary school teacher and their home was often filled with "teacher talk". Their daughter Kathleen was born in 1980 and she has always been their pride and joy. Michael was especially proud of her for earning a Ph.D. in history and becoming a college professor. With her husband Isaac - who is also a college professor in history - she lives and teaches in Michigan, following in the footsteps of her parents as an educator.

From childhood, Michael loved to read and fill his home with books. He was known as "Coach Wikipedia" because of his vast knowledge of history, sports, and current events. Blessed with an infectious laugh, he loved his Irish heritage and loved to travel. Mostly, he was happy when he was with family and friends, and they were so proud of him as he lost 110 pounds through Weight Watchers this past year and a half. He was able to enjoy life so much more fully and be more active, joining his wife Nancy on a trip this past July to Europe that included a week-long cruise up the Seine River in France, exploration of Paris, and visiting family in Switzerland.

Michael is survived by his wife, Nancy; his daughter, Kathleen and her husband Isaac Stephens; his mother, Frankie McGuire; his mother-in-law, Helen Swanson; his sister, Sharon Miller (Bob); his brother, Richard (Suzanne); his sister-in-law, Diane Adams (Scott); his brother-in-law, Bob Swanson (Katy); and his nieces and nephews.

There will be a memorial service for Michael on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 (11 am) at Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church, 26001 Muirlands Blvd., Mission Viejo, CA 92691.




Published in Orange County Register on Aug. 22, 2014
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