Michael J. McLoughlin (1945 - 2008)

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Michael J. McLoughlin, 63, passed away at his home in Bozeman Tuesday evening, Sept. 30, 2008. He was born Jan. 23, 1945, in Saginaw, Mich., the fourth son of Iris and Pat McLoughlin's six children.

He graduated from St. Mary's Cathedral High School in Saginaw and enlisted in the Army in 1966. He served in Vietnam as a private in the Army's 1st Division until 1968. He then earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Michigan State University in 1971.

Michael was the beloved husband of Heidi McLoughlin; beloved father of Justin Michael McLoughlin and James Patrick McLoughlin; dearly loved grandfather of Chase Michael McLoughlin; cherished brother of John (Barbara) McLoughlin, James McLoughlin, Robert (Janet) McLoughlin, and Mary McLoughlin (Martin Quinnan); dearly beloved uncle of Linda (Matt) Figel, Patty (Paul) Major, Cathy McLoughlin, Mike (Mickey) McLoughlin, Phoenix (Creighton) Burke, Rose McLoughlin, Patrick McLoughlin, Ellen Quinnan, and Emily Quinnan; dear nephew of Jackie (Bob) McLoughlin; great uncle to 11 nieces and nephews; and cousin of many McLoughlins and Webbs in Tennessee and California.

His youngest sister, Catherine, and his parents, Pat and Iris, preceded him in death.

Michael retired from Sysco Corporation after 34 years of loyal service. He began his career at the Saginaw, Mich., operation in 1971, where he held various sales and merchandising positions. He was named president of that company in 1979. He then transferred to serve as president and chief executive officer of Sysco Food Services Chicago in 1986, where he ran the company for 11 years. In 1997 he transferred to Portland, Ore., where he was named president and chief executive officer of Sysco Food Services of Portland. Then in 2002 he took over the operations in San Francisco, where he served as president and chief executive officer until his retirement in 2005.

Michael believed in hard work and mentored a great many people during his career. To paraphrase the words of his own respected mentor, John Woodhouse, retired chairman and CEO Sysco Corporation, "He will be missed. … We will always maintain our memories of him as an associate who went that extra mile and always represented Sysco with a special variety of class. … Michael's leadership capabilities brought him to the top of the list. … He had the ability to take a mediocre company to new heights and excellence. … His achievements are unprecedented. … His many contributions will be remembered and he will always be respected for his very creative leadership."

Michael lived his life with courage and integrity. He was honest and direct and always stood up for what he believed in. He called it as he saw it, no pretense or affectation, but often with great humor. Those qualities are as refreshing, as they are rare and ones that he exhibited his entire life.

From the time he was a young boy and throughout his life Michael loved the outdoors, dogs and horses. He was also an avid Harley rider and loved his '93 Fatboy. He enjoyed hunting with bow and arrow and was a repeat Outward Bound participant. He realized his lifelong dream when with the love of his life, his wife Heidi, he built a ranch in Bozeman, that is home to their four dogs, six horses, and seven barnyard cats - which he "tolerated."

Even though his only exposure to asbestos was as a young boy helping his Dad dismantle the asbestos casing around old furnace pipes, Michael was diagnosed with mesothelioma, in February 2007. Over the past 20 months, Michael and Heidi have had a steady stream of visitors to their ranch in Bridger Canyon - many of them family members for repeated visits but also a host of Sysco friends from around the country. Michael was straight, honest and true and beyond that, he was delightful company - funny and engaging, a born storyteller and a raconteur. He was devoted to his family and loyal to his convictions. We will cherish and hold dear our memories of him forever.

A private "Celebration of Life" will be held for family and close friends on Saturday, Nov. 1. Announcements will be sent. An open house will follow from 4 to 7 p.m. at the McLoughlin Home to which everyone is welcome.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Bozeman Deaconess Cancer Center or Bozeman Deaconess Hospice, 931 Highland Blvd. Suite 3200, Bozeman 59715.
Funeral Home
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 587-3184
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Oct. 5, 2008
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