Our Lord called Michael Alan Roper, 71, home on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Mike passed peacefully at home with his family at his side.
He carried a deep and steadfast love for God and yearned to be reunited with his wife, Darlene Roper.
Mike was born in Detroit, MI, on November 11, 1949, and was the first child of Roy and Marjorie Roper. He had one sister, Tracy (Dennis Bushey).
He served his country in the United States Air Force, spending time and making great lifelong friends in Minot, North Dakota, and Taichung, Taiwan. He attended Kirtland Community College and met his wife in 1973 while living in Roscommon. Their first date was a motorcycle ride. They married in 1976 and together they created a close family in Gaylord; daughter, Jamie and son-in-law, Gabe Mellein, and grandkids, Aurora and Noah; son, Christopher and fiancée Jennifer Weaver; and daughter, Aubrey and son-in-law, Aaron McCready.
Mike was predeceased by his parents and his wife.
He lived a life full of adventures on snowmobiles, bikes, dune buggies, skis, motorcycles, 4-wheelers, and more. In his free time, he enjoyed playing tennis, boating, volunteering, and spending time with his family. He loved traveling and seeing the world. His wife, Darlene, said that she would follow him anywhere – and that is exactly what she did. They visited national parks within the U.S., took multi-day motorcycle trips, and traveled to Italy, Morocco, France, Hawaii, Switzerland, Canada, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.
Mike was a member of St. Mary Cathedral parish for almost 45 years. He enjoyed his career at the Otsego County Road Commission as Managing Director so much so, that after retiring he went back to work at the Cheboygan County Road Commission. He officially retired in 2014.
Though living a life full of adventure and devoted to family, he always made time for God and for spreading his love through his talents. Mike was the guy to call when friends and family needed things fixed. He knew how everything worked and how to fix it – or build it. He used those skills volunteering with Tool Time in his retirement. He also enjoyed teaching downhill skiing lessons at Treetops Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, and the Otsego Club.
There will be a funeral mass at St. Mary Cathedral on Friday, June 25th, at 11:00 a.m. A luncheon will follow.
8 comments on “Michael A. Roper”
After many years in Gaylord, I can say Mike was a friend. I always enjoyed our chats about work, life and family. May his passing recall fond memories of his giving and sharing. Peace to his family!
Jamie, Gabe, Christopher, Jennifer, Aubrey, Aaron, Aurora & Noah,
We were so sad to hear of Mike’s passing. I worked at the OCRC with Mike and it was through our employment together that we became friends and shared our family life stories, even after many years when we would run into your mom or dad they both would radiate with joy when updating us on their family! Each of you truly were the sunshine in their lives! We know your strong faith and prayers of family and friends will carry you through the days ahead. In love & sympathy, John & Jan Lake
Now he is with Darlene again. Great person, an amazing couple. May he rest in peace. Sister Jean Umlor
I want to extend my sympathy to the family of Mike and Darlene on their passing. I did not know that your mother had passed away until reading your father’s obituary. They were both wonderful people and are together again in heaven. May they rest in peace in eternal life. John Hirvela
Words cannot convey the sadness I feel after being told about Mike’s passing yesterday. I have known your parents for many many years;
I was the Instructor of Cosmetology at Kirtland Community College when your mother was a student and loved her personality and her determination.
She also had the most beautiful smile. I was unaware of her passing until I read Mike’s obituary. I first met your father when I started working at the Crawford County Road Commission in 1978. He was an incredible inspiration and help to me with any issues and paperwork that I had difficulty with, I admired him immensely. I treasure the memory of both your father and mother and please know that you are all in our hearts and prayers.
I became acquainted with Mike and Darlene while doing work for road commissions. Mike and Darlene made you feel like family, each having very kind hearts. Mike and I talked like brothers and good friends almost every time we met up. He was wise, thoughtful and very caring. They are together in heaven, yet gone from us much too soon.
Please accept our deepest sympathy on the passing of your father. He & I were friends since 1979 when I was his counterpart at the Cheboygan County Road Commission. He was a great help when we had to install computer systems as he was far more knowledgeable about such things. We both had a passion for anything with a motor that went FAST!!! When traveling to meeting together we managed to stop at every motorcycle, snowmobile & boat dealership along the way. Once we drove my wife’s red Corvette. Your dad took the wheel & about scared me to death! We took a lot of rides together, some including your mother & my wife. Such fun we had! Even after I retired in 1995, we got together every summer when I returned to the area, for lunch & usually a guided tour of the “toys” in his pole barn. He & your mother always spoke highly of family & friends. They packed a lot of adventures into the years they were married & served the Lord. You are in our prayers during this challenging time.
It has been three months now today that Mike has dies and I am still dealing with and troubled with his passing. When I learned of his death by Christopher my heart was bruised and my very soul was touched.
I went to a car show last week and there sat a blue Datsun 240 Z. When ever I see one my mind instantly goes back to Chin Chuan Kang Air Base in Taiwan ( 1971 -1972 ). Mike and I explored the island of Taiwan in his new sports car and he made it such a thrill. Years later, being stationed at Wurtsmith AFB Oscoda Mi, I traveled by my Yamaha 250 and helped Mike paint that car. Michigan winters were brutal on Japanese steel.
We were playing tennis one afternoon and believe it or not but I hit myself above my left eyebrow with my tennis racket on a failed return shot. Blood immediately was flowing down my face and I grabbed a towel and held it to my head. Mike said we have to go to the hospital. Mike said as I got into the ” Z “…” DON’T bleed on my seat Bubbles “. (Bubbles was my nick name back then…thankfully it fell by the wayside ) Back to the story…as I entered the emergency room on base…there was so much blood…the attendees and doctor thought I had been shot in the head but laughed when we told them what happened. Three stitches later Mike and I left…. I noticed when I got back in his car…no blood on the seat. ( Good for me….otherwise Mike might have shown me what a real blood flow was …. lol )
Besides doing our military jobs on base, Mike and I enjoyed not only traveling the island and tennis but also bowling and barbeques in our off duty hours. In Taichung we walked the streets and enjoyed eating fried rice at our favorite restruant called ” Mai Restruant “. Mike was so well liked by the owner, he was even allowed to go behind the counter and prepare his own fried rice on the grill.
As years passed and we went on with our lives after the military we kept in touch. Mike stood up in Cindy and my wedding. Darlene and Mike accepted and became our first born daughter Jill’s God parents.
Mike and I often talked about going back to Taiwan when we won the lottery. ( It didn’t occur to me until Mike died that I won the lottery when I first met him 50 years ago. )
Sooner or later, like everyone we meet and enjoy…the time comes when one or the other passes on and the moments we shared with each other becomes one person’s memories. That person becomes the authority of stories remembered and shared, stories that are kept and stories that are discarded.
My Pastor Brad Trask said it takes a good man to make a good father…I ‘m going to expand on that and say it takes a “great man ” to be a great husband, father, son, friend. Mike was a great man in my eyes and he has left his family a great legacy to remember him by.
Jamie, Christopher, Aubrey and family, please accept Cindy and my sincerest sympathy on your ” Poppa’s ” passing.
Bernie and Cindy Bobola
04 August 2021