Mike Bigelow
1936 - 2020
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Michael Lloyd Bigelow

Michael Lloyd Bigelow, a 20-year resident of Murrieta (Riverside County) and Borrego Springs (San Diego County), passed away on May 15, 2020, after a courageous battle with Lewy body dementia.

Mike was born in Berkeley in 1936 and grew up in the Bay Area. He graduated from Mount Diablo High School and Chico State, and completed an intensive course in Russian through the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. Mike served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1959 and was stationed in Heilbronn, Germany. He married Janice Whisler in 1957.

He worked as a reporter and city editor at the Redding Record Searchlight, He later had a 30-year career as a wire editor of international news at the San Francisco Chronicle. While at the Searchlight, Mike was recognized in 1963 by Gov. Pat Brown for writing about mental health. In April 1968, the Searchlight published a series of 15 articles written by Mike about the prejudicial plight of black residents of Redding.

Mike avidly pursued many interests: marathon running, winemaking, hiking, cycling, botany, photography and traveling. Mike and Jan enjoyed numerous trips throughout North America in their RV and also visited more than 50 countries during their 62 years of marriage. Over the last 25 years, Mike devoted many hours to volunteer work with the San Francisco Opera, Yosemite National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association.

Mike is preceded in death by his brother Glenn. He leaves behind his wife, Janice; three children, David (Tina), Karen (Ken) and Darren; five grandchildren (Michael, Vincent, Jeff, Justin, Katherine); four siblings (Jack, Stan, Sue, Janet); lifelong friend Les; and numerous other friends and family members.

Mike will be remembered for his gentle and caring nature, his determination and thoroughness in all endeavors, and his really terrific Barbera. A memorial will be planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mike's name to the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from May 23 to May 24, 2020.
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2 entries
June 3, 2020
I had the privilege of working for Mike when he was a 28-year-old city editor at the Redding Record-Searchlight. Not only was he a fine newspaperman ... he was simply a great guy.
May 23, 2020
Rest In Peace my friend. You came to the desert, you learned its nuances, you fell in love with its essence, and you passionately shared it with others. I feel honored to have been part of your journey. My condolences to Jan and your family. Love Karyn
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