Michael A. Cleland Michael A. Cleland, age 71, of Tumwater, WA passed away peacefully on December 29, 2012 from complications of a stroke. Mike was born in Lawton, Oklahoma on November 8, 1941 to William and Marian Cleland. At age 12, his family spent a year in Japan while his father was deployed as a part of the U.S. Army helping to rebuild Japan. He graduated from Olympia High School in 1959, and was just a few credits short of receiving his law enforcement bachelor's degree. He was proud of his Scottish heritage, and had researched the family name back to the 1300s. Mike married his best friend, Sandra L. Brigham, on April 15, 1978, and they were married for 34 years. He lovingly cared for Sandy as her multiple sclerosis took away more and more of her mobility over the years. He always said that "Sandy would do the same for me; we're a team." As a young adult, Mike held a variety of jobs, from co-owning a gas station to being a volunteer firefighter until he found his true calling, law enforcement. After many years of working as a deputy for the Thurston County Sheriff's Department, he accepted the Chief of Police position in Port Angeles, WA in 1978. He retired in 1992, and returned the Olympia to be near family. Mike wasn't quite ready to completely retire and worked for the Traffic Safety Commission for several years before retiring again, this time for good. Mike and Sandy enjoyed traveling, both on their motorcycles and in their RV, and saw much of the western U.S. until Sandy's health kept them closer to home. The annual spring vacation trip to the Oregon Coast with all the kids and grandkids was the highlight of his year. He loved working on his computer and was the "tech support" for the whole family for many years. Mike was an active member of the his homeowner's association, and spearheaded the project when the residents purchased their development. Mike is survived by his wife, Sandy; children, Sherri Hoddle (Bryan), Jeff Cleland (Michelle) and Heather Beaver (Dennis); 8 grandchildren from age 12 to 25; sister, Pat Gillenwater; and lots of extended family and friends. Mike's and Sandy's cat, Buddy, gave them so much joy over the past 12 years, and we are still looking for a home for him. Mike was so proud of his kids, their spouses and all the grandkids. Mike was the loving patriarch of the family and he will be greatly missed. Below his tough cop exterior, his family only saw the big teddy bear of a man whose hugs were unmatched. At Mike's request, there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to National Multiple Sclerosis Society or
. The family of Mike Cleland wishes to thank the nurses (especially Jim) of St. Peter Hospital's intensive care unit for the incredibly loving care they showed Mike and support they offered to his family during his last 10 days. Please leave memories of Mike at www.FuneralAlternatives.org. Arrangements are with Funeral Alternatives of Washington (360)753-1065.
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Published in The Olympian on Jan. 3, 2013