Michael died suddenly after a brief illness on Monday, June 11 at the age of 69. Michael was born in Madison, Wisconsin and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. After receiving a Ph.D. from Northwestern University he moved to Vancouver in 1969 to take up a position in the History Department at Simon Fraser University where he taught until his retirement in 2008.
He was renowned as a historian of the American Civil War, a bold and provocative scholar who challenged the academic status quo constantly and put forward new and illuminating interpretations in such books as Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War and In the Name of God and Country.
Michael spoke out passionately in the press on various political issues and embraced humanitarian and liberal causes throughout his life. He was a board member of the College of Psychologists and Dancing on the Edge Festival, and a past board member of Jewish Family Services Agency.
Michael was a fiercely devoted husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend. He was passionate, generous, and lived life to the full embracing with gusto everything that interested him - his second home on Pender Island, baseball, the West End farmers' market, the arts, walks on the seawall, fine food.
He is survived by his wife Santa Aloi, sister Laura Fellman, sons Joshua (Mei Ning Chang) and Eli (Liz Scanlon), granddaughters Sara and Becky, grandsons Sam and Isaac. Michael enriched the lives of many and all those who knew and loved him mourn his loss. A memorial service will be held to honour Michael at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 15 at Mount Pleasant Funeral Home, 306 E. 11th Ave., Vancouver. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Knowledge Network (www.knowledge.ca), Dance Centre (www.thedancecentre.ca), Crisis Line (www.crisiscentre.bc.ca), or Jewish Family Services Agency (www.jfsa.ca).
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on June 13, 2012