Michael Fleischman Perdue, 43 of Gaylord, a loving father, husband, son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew, uncle, good friend, teammate and coach to many, died tragically and too suddenly in a plane crash on his beloved Beaver Island, Michigan on November 13, 2021. Michael died holding and protecting his daughter Laney, the most precious gift he could ever have left for us.
Michael was born on December 5, 1977 in Spokane, WA. Michael, or “Mike,” was a fighter from the beginning, as he was born premature and not expected to live. Through a miracle as defined by doctors, Mike began breathing on his own and grew into a tall, beautiful, and loving man.
Growing up in Traverse City, MI, Michael came from a tight-knit Catholic family. He constantly cracked jokes at the dinner table and made everyone laugh so hard they could hardly eat. His humor was quiet but witty and right on point no matter who he was talking to. Michael loved all things baseball and hockey, and played both his whole childhood. In high school he played on both the baseball and hockey teams at Traverse City Central High School, as pitcher and a defenseman, respectively. His pitch was so fast and accurate that he received scholarships to college baseball teams, eventually joining two of his siblings and cousins at the University of Dallas in Texas, where he pitched for the UD Crusaders baseball team. He is mourned deeply by his former coach and teammates, whom he had kept in close contact with over the years.
Michael graduated from UD in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics. On October 2, 2004 Mike married the love of his life, Christie Heller, an island girl, on a windy day on Beaver Island and forever cemented his ties to his beloved Beaver Island. Together they built a beautiful life in Gaylord, MI where Mike joined forces with another Beaver Islander, Ryan Wojan, to purchase and build Smith Realty Group. Mike’s ease with clients and his masterful ability to make connections between people in all facets of his life made him a great realtor and friend.
In 2010 Mike and Christie welcomed Laney Megan to the world, to be followed by Addie Haynes in 2013 and Henrik Heller and Bo Michael in 2019. Above all, he treasured his family and his children. He was their coach, their protector, their comedian, and their hero. Mike’s most treasured moments were on Beaver Island with his family, boating, watching sunsets, going for drives, and enjoying a slower pace of life. Later in his life he acquired a love for hunting and fishing, looking forward every fall to deer camp with his father-in-law and dear friend Karl Heller, the entire Heller family, his father, Steve, and brother, Kevin, and friends.
One of Mike’s greatest joys in life was coaching and especially coaching his daughters in softball. He also coached the Gaylord High School Hockey Team and the Gaylord Varsity Baseball team. He was a very hands on father and was known and will be remembered for his big bear hugs. He had a wink, a smile and occasionally a slight hip check as a greeting for all he knew and loved. Michael was a gentleman who loved his faith and strived every day to lead a life of honor. If ever there was a calming presence, it was his.
Michael is survived by his treasured wife Christie, their four children Laney, Addie, Henrik and Bo, his parents Steve and Jane Perdue, sisters Jessica (George) Nicula, Amy (Joe) Ettawageshik, Kevin (Veronica) Perdue, Mary (Tom) Freundl, Katie (Neil) Smith, his mother-in-law Sue Heller Martin (Bob), father-in-law Karl Heller, sister-in-law Megan (James) Heller, and many beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, godchildren, and very dear friends.
Michael was preceded in death by his grandparents Herb and Cecelia Fleischman, and William and Henrietta Perdue, infant brother Edward, brother in law Rick Fellows, uncles Tom Perdue and Oliver Muldoon and Rodney Janda and Dennis Janda, and cousin Robert Heller. Words fall short of expressing the loving and immense impact Mike had on all those who knew him. He was a hero in life and a hero in death, and he will never, ever be forgotten. Rest in peace, dear Michael. We know we will see you again.
Visitation will take place from 2:00 - 6:00 PM Friday, December 10, 2021 at St. Mary Cathedral where the rosary will be recited at 6:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place 11:00 AM Saturday, December 11, 2021 at St. Mary Cathedral where visitation will begin at 10:00 AM. Interment will take place on Beaver Island in the spring. In lieu of flowers, those who wish are asked to consider memorial contributions to support future needs of the kids at https://www.gofundme.com/f/prayers-for-perdues or to Christina Perdue, through the funeral home, P.O. Box 249, Gaylord MI 49734. Please share your memories and personal messages with the family on the tribute wall.