Mike Wilwerding was a loyal and loving husband, father, stepfather, uncle, son and friend. He was genuine and generous, welcoming everyone he met with a warm smile. Mike always wanted to know everyone’s story – where you were from, how you got where you are, and who you wanted to be – valuing each person for his or her unique journey.
Mike’s journey began Feb. 12, 1938, in Hopkins, Minn. Born to John and Leone (Pauly) Wilwerding, Mike was the oldest of five children. At the age of 14, he began working at the local Red Owl where his dad was the district manager. Over the next nine years, he developed a strong work ethic and attention to detail that carried him throughout his life.
Mike was a proud graduate of the Hopkins High School class of 1956. He attended the College of St. Thomas, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in business in 1960. He continued his studies at the University of Minnesota, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations in 1962.
Before he would start a career in business, Mike dedicated himself to military service. He completed officer training at Lackland AFB in Texas and rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant by the time he was discharged from the Air Force in 1971. Mike proudly served as a personnel officer with the 63rd Troop Carrier Wing at Donaldson AFB in South Carolina and Hunter AFB in Savannah, Ga., where he enjoyed the coastal lifestyle living off-base.
Once he was released from active duty in 1965, Mike returned to Minnesota and started a family. He married Nancy (Keeton) and they were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Michelle. Mike was a dedicated father, and Michelle was the light of his life. They took many trips to the North Shore and enjoyed camping along the St. Croix River. Mike passed his love for the outdoors onto Michelle.
That passion for natural beauty is evident in the home Mike built for his family in Eden Prairie in The Preserve — an Association and community of neighbors that he cherished and formally served as treasurer for many years. He loved tinkering in the yard, maintaining his lawn and garden and walking along the lake.
Mike supported his family by building a remarkable 36-year career at Honeywell Inc., where he eventually became Director of Compensation and Benefits. He also served on the Council for Employee Benefits and the Conference Board, work Mike was very proud of through his retirement in 2001.
In 1999, Mike was introduced to his love, Anne. They developed deep affection for each other, with shared passions for family, nature, the arts, travel, and good food and fine wine. They exchanged wedding vows at Pax Christi on June 24, 2000.
Mike adored Anne and was very fond of his two stepsons, Devin and Sean. He loved and encouraged them at their sporting events and performances, and later enjoyed visits to New York, D.C., and Chicago.
Mike was happiest when his family was together around the dinner table or on vacation. Particularly during the holidays, Mike loved to organize special time with Michelle, J.B., Sean, Sereen, Devin and Adam. He would brim with pride and satisfaction whenever they were all together at once.
Mike and Anne travelled every chance they could, exploring new places and old favorites together. Some of their most memorable vacations were trips to Northern Italy, France, Canada, and Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Every fall they took a trip to the North Shore to take in the colorful leaves. Mike loved long walks around the Minneapolis lakes and canoeing down the St. Croix with the people he loved.
A long-time member of the Guthrie Theater and Minneapolis Orchestra, Mike was a loyal patron of the arts in Minneapolis. He was a founding member of Pax Christi Catholic Community and involved with the Knights of Columbus. Later in life, he cherished daily visits to exercise at the Cardiac Rehab and Fitness Center at the HVC at Methodist Hospital, where he made many wonderful friends.
Most of all, Mike was devoted to his family. He relished time with Michelle and J.B. and was immensely proud of the life they are building together, including their new home along the North Shore. He loved hosting annual gatherings for the extended Wilwerding clan and making trips to Texas and South Carolina to see his siblings.
During the final months of his life, Mike met the challenge of cancer with dignity and grace, with help from his “guardian angel” Anne. To the end, he greeted everyone met with a bright smile and had a warm heart. Mike was a man of strong faith who found solace in prayer and the counsel of Fr. Bill Murtaugh of Pax Christi.
With yellow leaves falling in the October breeze, and surrounded by those he loved most, Mike passed away peacefully at home. He will be laid to rest at St. Margaret’s Cemetery in Hopkins.
Mike is deeply missed and forever remembered by his loving wife, Anne Wilwerding; daughter, Michelle (J.B.) Matthews and their beloved dog, Sadie; step-sons, Devin (Adam Ciarleglio) Dwyer and Sean (Sereen) Dwyer; siblings, Lee (Ruth) Wilwerding; Anne Truax; brother-in-law, Bill Dunn; many nieces, nephews and extended family.
There to greet Mike in Heaven are his parents, John and Leone Wilwerding; sister, Polly DeBella; and infant brother, Stephen Wilwerding.Print Obituary & Condolences