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On December 4, 1947, Mike was born in Port Angeles to Richard and Olive (Tiller) Jones with his older sister, Marie, to greet him.
He remained in Port Angeles his entire life and attended Port Angeles schools, graduating in 1967.
After high school, he served in Vietnam from 1968 through 1969 as an Army sniper with the 9th Division and fought in the Tet Offensive. He often referred to this time as his "senior trip."
Among numerous medals, he earned two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star.
When he returned from overseas, he worked in the logging industry until retiring in 2001, having put in 28 years with the Port of Port Angeles, where he had run the log boom.
On May 23, 1985, he married the love of his life, Linda L. Otis, at the Lariat Hall. They spent their honeymoon fishing on Lake Crescent.
Mike became a loving father to his two daughters, Tonya Jones and Kelsy (Jones) Martin; and Kelsy's husband, Matthew, whom Mike loved and welcomed into his family.
In 1996, they happily assumed into their hearts their son, Nicholas Bielby, and his longtime girlfriend, Leslie Sommerville. Mike was blessed with three loving grandsons: 8-year-old Hunter, 5-year-old Gavin and 2-year-old Tanner.
In 1990, he was baptized by Pastor Peterson at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. Mike also enjoyed visiting Pastor Lovejoy and his family.
Mike was an avid outdoorsman. He lived fishing, hunting and trapping, and passed these skills on to his children, son-in-law and grandsons.
Mike had a vast knowledge of fishing and, as a friend said, "he was a legend in his own time." Besides fishing here, he took many trips up to River's Inlet, British Columbia.
He caught a 60-pound salmon out of the Kenai River in Alaska and a 229-pound halibut from the Strait. He loved every minute of it, either by himself, with friends or with his old dog, Bo.
He loved hunting from the corner of the Pacific Northwest to the Australian outback. He spent many years hunting in Wyoming and Eastern Oregon, and was happily anticipating a trip to Montana in the fall.
He enjoyed hunting deer, elk, antelope, bear, grouse and kangaroo. He looked forward to his yearly duck hunt at Graymarsh, always taking one of the boys.
Mike was always awaiting "the next season."
He had a passion for trapping in his youth, which he carried on throughout his life. He and Linda trapped together and brought the grandsons along when they arrived.
Mike enjoyed helping people and had many stories about his experiences.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Jim Wirfs, life mentor Lee Baublits and his faithful dog, Bo.
He is survived by his loving family, aunts Wilma Miller and Lil Tiller, sister Marie Wirfs and numerous cousins, in-laws, nieces, nephews and lifetime friends, as well as friends he picked up along the way.
He touched many people in his lifetime and will be remembered for his generosity and great laugh.
Drennan-Ford Funeral Home, Port Angeles, has been entrusted with cremation arrangements, and there will be a private scattering of his ashes.
A celebration of his life will take place on Sunday, June 22, 2014, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lariat Hall, 4018 South Tiller Road, Port Angeles. Please bring a potluck dish: A-J should bring main dishes; K-O, salads; and P-Z, desserts.
Mike supported the Disabled American Veterans. If you would like to make a memorial contribution, you can do so by visiting www.dav.org.
"A Fisherman's Prayer"
God grant me a little more time
To pick up my rod, and cast my line.
Work and worry disappear
When I pick up my fishing gear.
With boat on trailer, I will go
Anywhere the fishing's not too slow.
Work just doesn't seem so fine
When I see what's at the end of my fishing line.
When I am feeble, old and grey
Please don't take my pole away.
When the Pearly Gates open wide
Please find this old fisherman, one good lake inside!
— Jeannette Hoppes
Drennan & Ford Funeral Home and Crematory - Port Angeles
260 Monroe Rd. Port Angeles, WA 98362
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on May 9, 2014