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Michael Jon Bower traded his earthly, well-used rods and reels for new heavenly fishing gear on May 13, 2014.
His special divine fishing open invitation came after a long and staunch stand against cancer. He stepped away peacefully at home with loved ones at his side.
Michael was born in Seattle, Washington, on November 20, 1949. He lived a life about which stories are told.
He loved to fish, getting ready to fish and just about everything else related to fishing.
His smoked salmon was a real treat to all who were lucky to get some, along with his canned tuna.
Michael liked crabbing, hunting, camping, golfing, river rafting, gardening, working on his Kubota, shooting pool and riding his motorcycle. He had a special place in his heart for dogs. He was a great cook, being Italian, and his spaghetti was the best!
He was a genuine man who was true to himself and treated everyone the same. He had a unique sense of humor, as his family and friends knew well.
His father's career in the Coast Guard took the family around the United States and the world to live. His education took place in many different locations. This no doubt began his lifelong love of travel and new adventures.
Michael was someone who found something interesting and enjoyable to see and do wherever he went. He always had a bag packed and was ready to go.
Michael was a disabled veteran. His active military service in the U.S. Army spanned from January 1968 to May 1970.
He served in Vietnam from October 1968 to October 1969 as a cannoneer with a field artillery unit. His unit participated in several counteroffensives, including the counteroffensive of Tet in 1969.
He entered active service in Cooper City, Florida, and was honorably discharged at Fort Lewis, Washington.
After being discharged, Michael moved to Port Angeles, where he worked for many years as a masonry hod carrier. He also worked as a commercial fisherman along the Washington coast and even got in a season up in Alaska.
Michael cut a lot of firewood over the years and helped many keep their homes warm. He knew how to stack a tight truckload of firewood, and his customers were always happy.
On August 7, 1988, he married Mary E. Reich in a civil ceremony in Port Angeles. Their reception was held at the Upper Elwha Community Club. They celebrated their 25-year wedding anniversary in 2013.
Michael enjoyed traveling back to Wisconsin to visit his in-law family and friends, along with freshwater fishing for muskies and pan fish. He even got in some ice fishing.
In the late 1990s, Michael embraced the Argentine tango. He started dancing under the direction of renowned instructor Sonny Newman of Seattle, who regularly traveled to Port Townsend to teach.
Michael studied under some of the best internationally known Argentine tango dancers and instructors traveling from Buenos Aires to the United States.
In 1999, he and wife Mary founded the Argentine Tango Dance Connection and, along with friend Jean Monro-Lamb, conducted an "It Takes You to Tango!" Workshop at the Grand Theater in Wausau, Wisconsin. He and Mary also taught classes locally.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Odora "Dorie" Frankenfield Bower and Michael H. Bower, who resided in Port Angeles. Michael provided both of them with much loving care prior to their passing.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; sister Tina Olson of Port Angeles; mother-in-law Ruth Reich and sister-in-law Julia Barrington of Wausau; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; a niece and nephew; and in-laws.
Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County helped provide Michael with excellent care prior to his passing.
Drennan-Ford Funeral Home of Port Angeles was entrusted with cremation arrangements.
There will be a private scattering of his ashes.
There will be military memorial service at the Veterans Center on Francis Street in Port Angeles on Saturday, July 19, at 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Memorials may be sent to Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, 540 East Eighth Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Drennan & Ford Funeral Home and Crematory - Port Angeles
260 Monroe Rd. Port Angeles, WA 98362
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on June 22, 2014