Mike loved this world, its oceans, mountains, deserts, and especially, its trees. His love of forests brought him to Cache Valley in the mid-1970’s where he earned his MS in Forest Science and PhD in Entomology at Utah State University. In 1983, he was employed as a Professor of Forestry in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State and worked there for 35 years. His career accomplishments were many and his works seminal. His research continues to provide natural resource managers with a greater understanding of how wildfire, forest insects, and snow avalanches help shape forest structure.
Mike loved teaching. He enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of young people and sharing his expertise with them. The outdoors was his favorite classroom. His teaching style was engaging and his lessons always salted with a good dose of humor. In the 1990’s, he directed the College of Natural Resources, Summer Camp Program where students learned skills fundamental to natural resource management.
Mike loved to travel. He visited lands from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, from the heights of the Himalayas to the depths of Death Valley, from the steppes of Mongolia to the headwaters of the Amazon, and from the Massif Central in France to the Serengeti in Tanzania. He returned from every trip filled a greater reverence for this earth and appreciation of its inhabitants.
Mike loved snow, the way it formed in the atmosphere and fell to earth, how it blanketed trees and glistened in sunlight. He loved digging into it to study its layers and how they contributed to avalanche formation. But mostly, he loved skiing through it.
Mike loved ski patrolling. He joined the Beaver Mountain ski patrol in 1978 and later became a member of the National Ski Patrol. He devoted his patrolling career to mountaineering, avalanche, and snow safety education. He received his national number in 1987 and served as the National Director of Avalanche Education for over a decade. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Award and Green Merit Star from the National Ski Patrol in 2001. He also forecasted for the Utah Avalanche Center Logan Office from 1990 to 2002. His fellow patrollers at Beaver Mountain, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain were like brothers and sisters to him and he enjoyed working with them every minute of every hour of every day.
Mike loved dogs, their unconditional love, companionship, and loyalty. His dog, Sylvi, was among the most accomplished search and rescue dogs in Utah history, and most recently, his beloved dogs, Karma and Tashi, served as avalanche dogs at Powder Mountain and for Wasatch Backcountry Rescue.
Mike loved his home in Paradise, particularly, the view of the Wellsville Mountains from his back deck. He loved the rusty farm implements that adorned the far corners of his yard, his gardens of zinnias and milkweeds that attracted, butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, his varied assortment of trees, and the pasture grasses that waved in summer breezes.
Mike loved us. Our family will miss this remarkable man, but we know he lives on in the wind as it blows across ridgetops, in the spray of a breaking ocean wave, in the warmth of a campfire, and in the snowflakes that light on our cheeks. On December 5, 2022, we lost our beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, friend, and colleague. This world lost a beloved son.
We plan to celebrate Mike’s life at our home in Paradise, Utah on Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. The address is 9033 South 300 West in Paradise.
In lieu of flowers, we would greatly appreciate making donations to Wasatch Backcountry Rescue. Please visit their website at wbrescue.org and open the donation tab located in the upper right corner of their home page. You can donate via credit card. A mailing address is also provided. All donations are tax deductible.
Final arrangements are under the direction of Allen-Hall Mortuary. Condolences and memories may be shared online at