Mike passed away peacefully, Oct. 25, 2018, at his home in Portland, Oregon, surrounded by family. He succumbed to esophageal cancer a short time after being diagnosed. Cremation has taken place.
Mike was the son of Donald and Ellame (Parks) Blackburn, the fourth of nine offspring, having been raised on the family farm in Durand.
He was a 1965 Bryon High School graduate. He attended Michigan State University, earning a degree in landscape architecture. Mike made his first international trip to Europe after graduating from MSU, a solo and frugal event. Upon his return to the states, he packed his Saab and drove across the country. He chose the great Northwest as his new home, specifically Eugene and eventually Portland. Oregon, for the next 45 years. He was employed and retired from the city of Portland.
Mike and his wife of 31 years, Eileen Lipkin, continued to travel internationally during their marriage; she enjoyed nature and culture seemingly as much as he. They have lived in and completely remade a house into a home, capturing the spirit of Mike. The backyard is a state park with gullies, streams, trees and wildlife. Art, poetry, history, architecture and nature spoke as one to him. His lifestyle defined him: innovative, frugal and conservation minded. Michael could do more with less than most anybody.
He is survived by wife Eileen of Portland; as well as siblings Bethany Everhart of Fenton, Thomas (Irene) Blackburn of McKinleyville, California, Sue Hale, Christine Maier, Brian (Cindy) Blackburn of Durand, Claudia (Jim) Berry of Everett, Washington and Mark (Peggy) Blackburn of Durand; brother-in-law Art Hutchinson of Durand; and a special aunt Virginia Parks of Kentucky. He also has dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins from Michigan, California, Washington, New Jersey, and Oregon. He was familiar with all of them. Other close surviving relatives include sisters- and brothers-in-law Sherry and Paul Fishman, and Shelly and Suzanne Lipkin.
He was preceded in death by his parents Don and Ellame; sister Rosemary Hutchinson (2017); brothers-in-law Larry Hale and Bob Maier; Nephew Zachari Blackburn; mother and father-in-law Pearl and Herman Lipkin.
Michael lived life fully, but even so he left project and travel plans on the table. He was so loved and is dearly missed.