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Springfield, MO 65804
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Michael William "Orville" Pottenger

1949 - 2019
Michael William "Orville" Pottenger Obituary
Michael William "Orville" Pottenger

Kansas City - Michael William "Orville" Pottenger, 70, died suddenly of shock last week when after 55+ years of playing golf he finally got a hole-in-one. Not really, but he would have hoped for that. Mike passed away quietly from natural causes in his downtown Kansas City home on Thursday, October 31, 2019.

A celebration of Mike/Orville's life will be held at Uncle Bentley's in Springfield, Missouri Saturday, November 9th from 3pm-7pm. Thanks to his best friends, known and unknown, and support from Welcome House Kansas City, Mike has been sober the past 8-10 years, and he was very proud of this fact. However, in his prime Uncle Bentley's was uniformly the 19th hole he and his friends frequented most.

Mike was born on August 27, 1949 in Georgetown, Texas to William Orville "Potch" Pottenger and Martha Grace (Howell) Pottenger. The family moved back to Springfield and eventually expanded their family with the additions of Marjorie Grace Pottenger (deceased) Paula Ruth Pottenger, and Martha Jane Pottenger. At that point, Mike had it made. Three little sisters to idolize him for the rest of his life. His love of sports came naturally from his dad, who didn't believe in "letting" Mike win. Mike often reminisced about going on SMSU football "scouting" trips with his dad to East Saint Louis over Thanksgiving vacation where they ended up sharing a holiday meal with a prospect's family. He loved fishing with his dad too. Often they would get up early and be on Lake Taneycomo by 4:30 a.m. to trout fish. Mike played basketball at Jarrett Junior High, and played both basketball and golf at Parkview High School. He even tried tennis, but said it screwed up his golf swing. There was no doubt that golf was the biggest passion of his life.

Mike's school years in Springfield is where he formed his most precious lifelong friendships. His friends knew him better than anyone. And he no doubt loved them more than they could or would ever know.

After a semester (or so) at SMSU, Mike's mom Gracie sent him off to work on the pipeline with his Uncle Jack Howell. Mike traveled to many different parts of the Continental U.S. working on the pipeline, but his biggest job was as a welder on the Alaskan Pipeline. While there he became an avid photographer, highlighting the beauty and wildlife of Alaska. Over the years, Mike worked for and with some of his best friends, but settled on working in the golf industry representing various golf related product lines.

Mike returned to Springfield, and from there lived for a time in Evanston, Il, then Kansas City, Ontario, CA and finally settled back to Kansas City, Missouri.

In the last decade of his life, it was the simple things that made Mike happy. He was a voracious reader, and remembered everything he read. He was a dedicated walker, walking for two or more hours every morning and evening. He would often report to his sister that had been "bad" during his walk by Crown Center, unable to resist buying ice cream. He loved to watch little kids playing or ice skating at Crown Center, or anywhere. He loved living in downtown Kansas City. He loved the Kansas City Chiefs, and Kansas City Royals. Mike's golfing buddies would often pick him up to play golf, and regarding his last outing he told his sister that "apparently he had forgotten how to play." Sports radio was Mike's constant companion, he listened to it and loved it. He was particularly worried about the Chiefs defense this year, as well as the offensive line. He was still hoping for Patrick Mahomes to recover and come back for a winning season. He wore golf shorts every day of the year unless weather forced him into sweats. He drank Diet Coke for breakfast and you could not force the man to drink water…not ever. And boy was he tan. After a stint of not loving life, he did love life again. Mostly he loved his friends, shopping online for golf bargains, his family and golf…not necessarily in that order. If Mike were able to, he would thank those that loved him when it wasn't easy, supported him when he wasn't in the room, and made him laugh when you were with him.

He recently was forced to celebrate his 70th birthday with his sisters Paula, and Martha Jane, and his favorite brother-in-law, Rick Morgner in St. Louis. They were in the process of planning his next visit to St. Louis for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, he never was able to finish training Martha Jane's puppy who has eaten her coffee table in Mike's honor.

In lieu of flowers, we encourage donations of any size in his honor, to 501 c (3) organization Welcome House Kansas City via 816.472.0760 1414 East 27th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108.

Online condolences may be left at
Published in the News-Leader from Nov. 6 to Nov. 7, 2019
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