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Michael Sfat

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Sfat, Michael R.

Michael R. Sfat, age 90, a resident of Hartford, and formerly of Manitowoc, passed away on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at his residence.

Mike was born in Timisoara, Romania on October 28, 1921 as Mircea Radu Sfat, the son of Peter and Emilia Sfat. In 1924, he emigrated to the United States, and after a brief stay in Cleveland, Ohio, grew up in the Detroit area of Michigan. Mike's education included degrees (1943 and 1947) in chemical engineering at Cornell University, and additional post graduate studies at Princeton University (1949-1950). During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army (1944-1946) as a private in the infantry, 2nd Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers, and Special Agent, Counter-intelligence Corps with duties in occupied Germany. Following the war, he remained in the Military Intelligence Reserve until 1956. During the war, in 1944, he became a naturalized U.S. Citizen and changed his name to Michael Rudolph Sfat.

After years of bioprocess development work at Merck & Co. and Pabst Laboratories, he moved to Manitowoc where he joined the Rahr Malting Company as Director of Research. In 1962, after the Manitowoc production facilities of Rahr Malting were sold to Anheuser-Busch, Mike helped establish Rahr Bio-Technical Laboratories, which became Bio-Technical Resources in 1969. For the rest of his life he retained an office in the laboratory building.

Professional honors include Distinguished Service Award, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin (1993) and election to the National Academy of Engineering (1994).

In 1948, Mike married Carolyn Jane Buckridge of Roselle, N.J., who preceded him in death on January 24, 1997.Their children were both born in Manitowoc: Gail Buckridge Ziemer in1955, and Mary Anne Bauer in 1957. Gail is married to William Ziemer of Manitowoc, and resides in Egg Harbor; Mary Anne is married to Thomas Bauer, also of Manitowoc, and resides in Erin. In 1997, Michael married Shirley Erdman, the widow of Willard Erdman, Mike's close friend.

Mike's grandchildren are Gail's daughter, Elizabeth; and Mary Anne's two daughters, Carolyn and Emmalee. Michael's brother, Tiberiu Peter Sfat, born in 1933, passed away in 2006 and is survived by his wife, Doris, and their five sons.

The family will greet relatives and friends on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Following the visitation, family and friends will be invited to share stories and memories of Mike. There will then be military rites accorded by VFW Otto Oas Post 659 to follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Manitowoc. Online condolences may be sent to

The Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home, N. 11th and St. Clair streets, Manitowoc is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests any memorials to be sent to the Manitowoc Public Library or the donor's choice in Mike's name.


Published in Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter from Oct. 18 to Oct. 20, 2012
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