KISH, S/SGT. MILTON (MIKE), USAF, 78, formerly of Port Vue and McKeesport, PA, passed away at his home in Kissimmee on April 5, 2013. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mike and Elizabeth Kish, Hungarian emigrants who entered the United States via Ellis Island, and sisters Peggy, Marie, Grace, Cholly, and June. These older sisters helped earn him the nickname of "Crown Prince". Mike was particularly proud of his first car, a pink and black Plymouth which his beloved daughter |
referred to as the "love mobile". His chosen vocation was that of a Catholic priest, but a tragic event that occurred while serving as an alter boy changed the course of his life. Upon graduation from McKeesport High School, he entered the Air Force and attended basic training at Sampson Air Base in New York. For the first 10 years of his career, Mike was an Air Policeman. During the Korean War he was scheduled to go to Korea but because his last name began with one of the first thirteen letters of the alphabet, he was sent to Miho, Japan. He was later recruited into the Office of Special Investigations and remained in that position until he retired after twenty years of distinguished service. One fortuitous day while working the guard shack at Lake Charles Air Force Base, LA, Mike met the love of his life,
Phyllis. His attention was initially drawn to her car because it displayed a Pennsylvania inspection sticker; he later admitted that he was captivated by her gorgeous legs. Five months after meeting, Phyllis followed Mike to Hempstead Air Force Base in Long Island, where they married in November of 1956. They were transferred to Orlando Air Force Base, with subsequent tours to Libya, Pennsylvania, a return to Libya and a final transfer to McCoy Air Force Base, Orlando. For the next seven years Mike worked as a regional director of security at Jack Eckerd Drugs, followed by 18 years as a security supervisor at Walt Disney World where he was affectionately referred to as "Old Sarge". To keep himself out of trouble at home, Mike wisely chose to obtain a part-time job with Coggin Chevrolet. Mike's passions were train collecting, shrimping, amassing a collection of more than 350 baseball caps, pasta, eating out, maintaining his lawn and traveling. He was a friend to one and all and could strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. Even when out-of-town, he was often recognized by acquaintances or he himself recognized acquaintance. Gregarious in nature and blessed with a wonderful sense of humor, Mike was a patriotic American and a member of the Sampson Air Force Base Veteran's Association. He was not a fan of computers and, displaying the patience of a true Taurus, destroyed many computer mice at Walt Disney which ultimately led to his retirement. At the time of his death he was a fully disabled American veteran. Mike is survived by his beautiful bride of 56 years, Phyllis; children Mike (Kate) and Cheryl; and dearly beloved grandchildren Kelly and Jessica. In December of 2012 he was preceded in death by his son Jeff. Throughout the years, many friends became extended family members and several of them earned the title of "brother". The family would like to express its deepest gratitude to the wonderful family and friends who helped brighten Mike's world after several years of declining health. A special acknowledgment is made to the staff and patients at Davita Dialysis Center in St. Cloud and Vitas Hospice for the loving care that was provided to Mike. He will be missed by his extended family of three jackasses (the four-legged variety) at East Lake Fish Camp that recognized Mike's voice calling out "heehaw, heehaw!". Visitation will be held on April 12, 2013 from 5-8 p.m. at Osceola Memory Gardens, 1717 Old Boggy Creek Road, Kissimmee, with a memorial service on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. A reception will be held at the funeral home upon completion of full military honors. Following cremation, interment will be at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Wounded Warrior Project and Lighthouse of Central Florida. Online condolences may be made at osceolamemgds.com.
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Published in the Orlando Sentinel on Apr. 10, 2013