Obituary: Michael Mario Joannides, “Michael J”
Michael Mario Joannides, “Michael J”
July 1, 1940 – Feb. 14, 2019
Michael Mario Joannides, “Michael J,” born July 1, 1940, in New York, New York, passed away on Feb. 14, 2019, in Frisco, Colorado, with his beloved wife Libby by his side. Michael grew up in the Bronx, New York, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. He joined the Navy at 17 and served as a boiler technician. After the Navy, Michael relocated to Michigan. He went on to achieve a master’s degree in education, with an expertise in fluid power engineering and robotics. Michael met Libby Richey in graduate school and pursued her lovingly. She was the absolute love of his life.
With his wit and resolve, Michael became an expert in his field. He was integral to the automation of Chrysler Motor manufacturing in Detroit. Using his experience and expertise, he became an instructor in hydraulics, pneumatics and automation controls at Henry Ford Community College. Throughout his career, he achieved numerous accolades. He was very active in Chapter 1 of the Fluid Power Society in Detroit, where he went on the earn all possible certifications. He was also awarded their National Educator of the Year for his excellence in teaching. Michael inspired his students and family to be the best versions of themselves. He always wanted the people in his life to continue to grow and be better.
Through love of skiing, and involvement with the GM Tech Center Ski Club, Michael and Libby had the opportunity to travel and ski around the U.S. and Canada. They discovered Breckenridge, Colorado and after retirement in 1999 made it their full-time home. Never one to stop working, he jumped into employment at Breckenridge Ski Resort where he worked in guest services, mountain safety, tickets and the rental shop. He also worked in ski rentals at Loveland.
Throughout his life, Michael was an avid musician and music fan. He was an accomplished jazz drummer and loved studying the history of jazz. In addition to playing in numerous bands throughout his lifetime, everywhere he went, he asked to sit in. In Breckenridge, he played with the jazz band Counterpoint and the Summit County Concert Band.
With Michael’s thoughtfulness, sense of humor and magnanimous smile he was always memorable and endeared himself to everyone he met. He was a funny man with many, many stories who loved his friends, family and life so much. He was beloved by all, everyone’s buddy, and will be missed greatly. His family and circle of friends feel fortunate and grateful for their time with him.
A private service will be held in March. Those interested in honoring his memory are asked to make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
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