Michael John Elekes

FRANKLIN - A private memorial service was recently held for Michael John Elekes, 53, of Franklin.

Mr. Elekes, a lifelong resident of Franklin, attended Immaculate Conception Regional Elementary School and Sussex County Vocational-Technical School before graduating from Franklin High School. He attended Davis & Elkins College before entering the U.S. Army, completing ranger training and attaining the rank of master sergeant. He spent two tours as a technical instructor in Germany before being honorably discharged, completing his 14-year military service at Fort Riley, Kan.

Mr. Elekes is survived by his parents, James J. and Anna M. Elekes, of Franklin; brothers, James J. Elekes, of South Carolina and David Elekes and his wife, Suzanne, of Indiana; a daughter, Jodi Elekes; a granddaughter; and three nephews.

Mr. Elekes and his elder brother, James, had a special bond throughout their adult lives as it was Michael who voluntarily donated a kidney to James in 1991 as a result of his lifelong battle with insulin-dependent diabetes. Later that decade, Michael once again stepped forth when his brother required open heart surgery, organizing a blood drive within his Union Brethren and offering to donate vascular material should it be required for James to complete successful surgery.

Mr. Elekes' respect for the outdoors was apparent throughout his life. An accomplished outdoorsman and sportsman, he enjoyed hunting, trapping, archery, fresh and saltwater fishing. He possessed lifetime memberships in Ducks Unlimited, National Rifle Association, Nature Conservancy and was a member of Local 560 Teamsters Industrial Union. As an outdoorsman, he routinely demonstrated to others edible vegetation and provided hands on training to environments where these wild fruits and vegetables could be gathered in northwestern New Jersey, upstate New York and eastern Pennsylvania. An avid cook, Michael would often prepare wild game, fish and wild vegetables for parents, family or guests, sharing recipes freely for his creations.

Following his military service, Michael worked as a heavy equipment operator, mason/carpenter and in over-the-road transport of heavy equipment. At his passing he was employed by his family, preparing properties his family recently purchased and renovating his parents' retirement home.

Condolences may be sent to www.fjohnramseyfuneralhome.com. Arrangements were entrusted to F. John Ramsey Funeral Home, One Main St., Franklin.

Published in The New Jersey Herald on Dec. 2, 2012