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Gordon "Greg" Michael


1937 - 2019
Gordon "Greg" Michael Obituary
(News story) Gordon "Greg" Michael, who worked for decades as a special agent for the U.S. Treasury and served as one of the first air marshals in the United States, died Sept. 5 at his home in Oregon. He was 82.

Brian Michael said his father was suffering from multiple health issues and was in the intensive care unit for a week before his passing.

"He was incredibly sharp in terms of his mind all the way up to the end," his son said. "44 years in law enforcement ultimately took a toll on his body as he got older, but his mind and memory were amazingly sharp up until the end."

Mr. Michael was born to Helen and Gordon Michael in 1937 in Toledo. He attended Central Catholic High School before earning degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan College of Law.

He married Nancy Michael Dec. 26, 1959, and they had five children. Mrs. Michael was a longtime teacher for Toledo Public Schools. She died Nov. 18, 2007.

Mr. Michael served 28 years as a special agent for the U.S. Treasury, investigating cases involving organized crime. He worked to solve cases across the country, from Cleveland and Youngstown to Miami and Charleston, W. Va.

"He took cases and developed investigations from this little area of northwest Ohio and turned them international in scope," Mr. Michael said. "He traveled to Europe and South America in furtherance of investigations. At one point, he was part of the largest cash seizure of over $300,000 in cash in the early 1960s from basically numbers operations where they were gambling without tax stamps."

In the early 1970s, Mr. Michael became part of the first wave of air marshals aboard U.S. commercial planes in response to three planes hijacked in September, 1970. Terrorists from Palestine hijacked several planes, some of which were headed for the U.S.

Mr. Michael received training before spending over a year trying to blend in with passengers on planes to all parts of the world. He was recognized for his service and volunteering to be part of President Richard Nixon's emergency program to prevent hijacking of aircraft.

Mr. Michael loved to travel and visited 80 countries, an aspect of the job he enjoyed.

"He used to have a spoon collection at the house from all the different countries," his son said. "Every time he went somewhere, that was a small thing he could bring back with him."

In 1988, Mr. Michael was named chief deputy of the Lucas County Sheriff's Department. His knowledge of the federal system came in handy when he transitioned the department's deputies from revolvers to 9-millimeter handguns. Mr. Michael was a family man and made sure to carve out time for his children. Daughter Catherine Knoop recalled many trips to the family cabin in Michigan.

"We all learned how to ski up there, we learned how to fish, I think that's where we learned to swim," she said. "He took a great interest in his children and their children. He with my mother really solidified how important it was to come together as a family in times of stress or grief, as well as times of joy. He always told us to remember that family is first."

Mr. Michael is survived by daughters Deborah Skergan, Catherine Knoop, and Tamara Michael, sons Patrick and Brian Michael, brother David Michael, and 11 grandchildren.

Visitation is scheduled for 2 until 8 p.m. Thursday at Hoeflinger-Shank Funeral Home in Oregon. Visitation will continue Friday at Epiphany of the Lord-St. Thomas Aquinas, 729 White St., in Toledo, at 10 a.m. Services start at 11.

Memorial contributions in Mr. Michael's honor may be given to Hospice of Northwest Ohio, the East Toledo Family Center, or St. Thomas Aquinas.

This is a news story by Jay Skebba. Contact him at [email protected] or 419-724-9414.
Published in The Blade on Sept. 10, 2019
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