Michael Ray Vanderpool, age 66, of Monroe passed away at home on Wednesday; July 31, 2019 after years of failing health.
Friends may gather on Friday, August 2, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Merkle Funeral Service, South Monroe; 14567 South Dixie Highway (734) 241-7070. A Celebration of His Life will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 3, 2019, also at Merkle's with Pastor Jeffrey Heimsoth of Trinity Lutheran Church officiating. Cremation will take place according to Mike's Wishes with inurnment at St. Joseph's Cemetery.
Born December 25, 1952, in Monroe, Mike, was the eldest child of Dean D. and Sally (Betrus) Vanderpool. As a young boy, he attended St. Mary's Grade School and his love of athletics began. He was a gifted athlete excelling in football, basketball, and baseball. Mike carried this love of sports to Monroe Catholic Central, where he lettered in all three sports. He was a member of the freshman football team that went undefeated and unscored upon. Mike was one of the top pitchers in the Huron League and region. Most memorable are his pitching accomplishments in the Monroe Auto Equipment Tournaments. He was most proud of the games he pitched and could tell you play-by-play what happened, always with a laugh. Mike also played basketball at Central for his mentor, Couch Ray Lauwers. He played baseball and basketball at Monroe County Community College where he received his associate's degree. Mike later went on to play baseball at Hillsdale College where he pitched a no-hitter in his first appearance. He participated in CYO, Little League, Monroe County Fair Teams, Stan Musial, and Men's Rec teams.
His love of athletics naturally led him into the coaching arena. "Goose", a nickname given to him by his dad because of his long neck, coached Little League and Connie Mack baseball. In 1977, he received the Frank Davis Memorial Award for outstanding youth baseball coach. In the 1970s, he started his basketball coaching career at St. Mary Academy, where his teams won numerous titles and he was named Monroe Evening News Coach of the Year twice. Mike also coached at Summerfield, Monroe Middle School, Jefferson High School, Dundee Middle School, Meadow Montessori, and SMCC. His greatest coaching characteristics were a passion for the sport, his profound knowledge, the ability to teach fundamentals, and helping kids.
Besides sports, Mike enjoyed playing cards, listening to music, working out, and his grandchildren's activities. Goose liked to think that he knew everything and everybody. He could talk … and talk to anybody. He had an outgoing personality and genuinely loved people. This was evident in his career choice as a juvenile detention supervisor at the Monroe Youth Center where he was named State of Michigan Child Care Worker of the year in 1978. He later worked at Boysville and was given the name VP by his students. It was not uncommon to see Mike with a handful of students from Boysville at a high school ball game or doing community service projects.
Mike married Cathy Toburen on December 16, 1973, at Trinity Lutheran Church. They were blessed with two children, and later he became "Papa Goose" to five grandchildren, who were the light of his life.
Mike is survived by his son: Michael (Jacqueline) Vanderpool and his "Angel" Kelli (Lance) Riggs; grandchildren: Joslynn, Rayahna, Camden, Pippa, and Michael; siblings: Deana Vanderpool, James (Terrie) Vanderpool, Julie (Jim) Panza, and Peggy Vanderpool; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and cousins; lifelong friend: John Rendina; card partner: Jim Volpi; and friends in Christ: Jack Thompson and Coach Al Thom.
His passing was preceded by his parents: Dean and Sally Vanderpool; grandparents: Fred and Sadie Betrus and Raymond and Cora Vanderpool; and infant siblings: Mary Frances and Dean Dru Vanderpool.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Vanderpool Family to assist with funeral arrangements. Online guests may visit www.merklefs.com.
Published by Monroe News on Aug. 3, 2019.