James Michael "Mike" Wilcox James Michael 'Mike' Wilcox, of Visalia, passed away on Sept 18th, 2013. Mike was born March 28th, 1948, in Exeter, California to Harry and Lucille Wilcox. He attended Redwood High School and left before his senior year to join the US Army and serve in the Vietnam War. On his second tour of duty when Mike was just 19 years old the helicopter he served as door gunner was shot down killing the other three crew members, leaving Mike severely wounded. Mike clung to a rope that was dropped to him by a rescue helicopter which flew him to safety and was later taken to a hospital in Japan where he spent several months in recovery. He was given a Purple Heart for being wounded in service of his country. After returning home Mike continued his service in the Army National Guard and later took a job working for the US Forest Service, where he loved spending his time in nature. In 1982, while living and working in the national park, Mike was in a car accident that nearly took his life. His strength and will to live kept him alive as he lay trapped with a broken neck for nearly 24 hours before being found. Mike remained in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, paralyzed from the shoulders down, but that did not stop him from living his life to the fullest. With hard work and a strong will Mike became a self-taught computer technologist. He used his knowledge and caring to help others while working at the College of the Sequoias in the High Tech Center. Mike worked for COS for nearly 15 years, teaching others who were in similar situations as himself to use technology to aid them in their lives, and for their recovery. He received numerous awards over the years for his efforts. Mike will be remembered by many of his friends and family for his love of music. Music was a huge and always present part of his life, bringing great joy, smiles, and fun times. Mike is survived by his friend and partner Sandra Fox, daughter Brooke Wilcox, granddaughters Haley and Cameron, sisters Donna Moberly and Joan Baker, and his nieces and nephews, TJ Baker, Michelle Baker, Stephen Moberly, and Christina Westbrook. He is proceeded in death by his parents, Harry and Lucille Wilcox, and his son Mike Jr. A memorial service will be held Thursday, September 26th 2013 at 1 PM at the Visalia Cemetery's Veteran's Memorial Pavilion.
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Published in Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Adv-Register on Sept. 25, 2013