MICHAEL L. CONLIN
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December 9, 1941 - August 5, 2014
Michael L. Conlin was born December 9, 1941 in Vallejo, CA to Ruth Tucker (Patton) Conlin and Garland Herrick Conlin. He passed away at home in Merced on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, at age 72. He was raised in Benicia, CA with his three sisters, and joined the Air Force in 1961 "to see the world" but was stationed at Castle Air Force Base for his entire tour of duty.He settled in Merced and completed a five-year union apprenticeship to become a journeyman plumber. He worked for Valley Plumbing and Johnnie's Plumbing here in Merced before becoming a plumbing contractor to open his own business, Conlin Plumbing, in 1973. He soon added spas and hot tub sales and installations and was one of the first solar contractors in Merced. In 1982 he moved to Pleasanton to work for Shell Oil and Getty Oil as a pipefitter-welder, and later worked at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He retired in 2001 and returned to Merced.Mike's true passion was anything with wheels that would go fast. He was an excellent, creative mechanic whose "career" began very early with rebuilding the engine of an abandoned 1936 Plymouth at the ripe old age of seven. Too young to drive, he was not too young to learn about cars. He became a very proficient engine builder. By the time he was a teenager he lived for drag racing and was often a class winner at the Fremont, CA Drag Strip (now closed). His love of speed and automobiles kept him constantly building or rebuilding cars. His last car build was a ground-up restoration of his wife's bright red 1958 MGA Roadster.He also raced Go-Karts with his boys in Atwater. When moving to Pleasanton in 1982 he formed a Go-Kart team, Dublin Karts, with Doug Watts (Atwater) as the driver; the team had their share of wins. When racing ended, Mike moved on to Conlin Motorsport Photography. He photographed nostalgia drag races, NASCAR, sports car races, again, anything with wheels. During this time Mike also wrote a series of articles about nostalgia drags that, along with his photographs, were published over in "Anglia News" now called "Gasser Wars Magazine". He even had a couple of cover stories.A 20 year prostate cancer survivor, Mike started a prostate cancer support group in Pleasanton, CA. Mike ran it for over seven years and many physicians from Stanford and UCSF would come to speak at his meetings. It was not unusual for 45 to 60 men to attend these bi-monthly meetings. The best medical information available at Stanford and UCSF was provided. Mike was very proud of this important work and many lives were saved because of it.He had a wonderful sense of humor, always ready with a joke or funny story. He loved children and animals, all of which flocked to him. He was also a champion of underdogs, no matter who they were. Mike was a generous man; generous with his time and with his work to help others. He never, ever, met a stranger.Mike leaves behind his loving wife of 41 years Gloria Conlin, and from a prior marriage, three children and five grandchildren: son James Michael Foxx (Rebecca) Conlin, and grandchildren Elizabeth, Jack and Sam of Angels Camp, CA; a daughter Patricia Conlin and her children, Emily and Adam of Carrollton Texas; and son Jonathan Frank Foxx Conlin of Eagle Point, Oregon. Mike is also survived by two sisters, Judy (Bob) Rahill of Vallejo, their sons, Mark and Kevin; and a younger sister Carol Barton.His smiles and laughter were given freely and will forever be missed by all who knew him. He requested there not be a funeral. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity or animal rescue of your choice.
Published in Merced Sun Star on Aug. 16, 2014