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Michael R. Biggerstaff

Funeral Services for Michael R. Biggerstaff will be Friday, May 20, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. in the Fergus Center for the Performing Arts in Lewistown with interment to follow in the Lewistown City Cemetery.   Family and friends are invited to attend a reception that will be held at the Eagles Club 124 W Main St, Lewistown, Montana following burial.  Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Michael R. Biggerstaff, 65 of Stanford, died Monday May 9, 2011 near Miles City, Montana of injuries sustained in an airplane crash.  He was born December 18, 1945 in Lewistown Montana the son of A. Ronald and Mildred (Dunn) Biggerstaff.  He attended elementary school in Lewistown and when he was in junior high his family moved to Denton where he graduated in 1964.  He then attended Montana State University in Bozeman graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1970.  He put himself through college by crop dusting in Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.  While in college he entered the Air National Guard in Great Falls.  On December 17, 1972 he was united in marriage to Connie Fulbright in Denton Montana.  They began their married life together in Billings. He worked for his uncle using his degree in engineering but didn't want to sit in the office, he simply wanted to fly. While in Billings he also worked for Blood Services of Montana as a currier.  They then moved to Belgrade where he worked for Newby Aviation where he was a flight instructor and a crop duster.  In 1974, Mike and Connie bought an aerial applicator business which became known as Big B Flying.  He began flying for New Frontier Aviation on BLM fire contracts and had been doing this for the past 8 years.  He also worked for Youderian Construction for over 20 years in the off season.  He was able to continue his love of crop spraying with Newton Aviation, in a business arrangement, after selling his beloved Weatherly to Don.

He enjoyed aviation, snowmobiling, NASCAR, mountain brookie trout fishing, hunting, music, reading and rodeo.  He also enjoyed college football where he rooted for the MSU Bobcats.  He enjoyed many trips to the Reno Air Races and Oshkosh Fly-In.

Mike was a people person and loved to visit.  His gentle spirit, quick wit, and sense of humor was contagious. He will be greatly missed.  He was a man of faith. He valued integrity, honesty, hard work and education.  A meticulous planner, his attention to detail and his intelligence made him a standout.  He was really a dog person, but when he married Connie, he became a cat person too.  He was a true pet lover. He was a very generous man and loved his family and many friends.

He was an active member with the Association of Montana Aerial Applicators and a former NAAA board member. He was a member of the Little Belt Snowmobile Club, NRA, and AOPA.

Mike was bitten by the flying bug during his first flight over his childhood ranch north of Hilger in a Luscombe Silvaire piloted by his uncle Ed Biggerstaff.  Building and flying model airplanes kept his fire going until he could start flying for real when he was a student at Montana State University with the Flying Bobcats. He quickly moved up the ladder after soloing in only 4 hours of total flight time. Soon after receiving his Private, Commercial, and Flight Instructor ratings he was immersed in commercial flying from that point on.

He is survived by his wife Connie of 38 years; his daughter, Brandi Pitt of Eden, WY; his son Brian of Philadelphia, PA; brothers Dan (Sherry) of Bozeman, MT; Ron (LouAnne) of Loma Linda, CA; sister, Ardis (Franc) Rice of Helena MT, 17 nieces and nephews, 30 grandnieces and nephews, his many friends and his beloved yellow lab retriever, Cassie. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, father and mother-in-law, Ralph and Dorothy Fulbright and sister-in-law Judy Fulbright.


Friends are asked to make memorials to the charity of their choice and they may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home.  Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com



Condolences (42)
written by Karli Phillips, June 01, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi & Brian,
My heart hurts for you in your loss. I remember visiting with Brandi, in school in Havre, & how she absolutely adored her daddy. I understood.

Dad (Glen Nepil) & Mike were in the guards together & Mom (Karen) was just telling me how nice it was to have you to visit with, Connie, when the guys were busy with that.

Again, we are sorry for your loss, remember all the good times, smirks & laughs. Praise God we'll get to see them again!

God Bless you,
Karli

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written by Mark Mamuzich / Minuteman Aviation, Inc., May 25, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi & Brian,
I was so sorry to hear of Mike's accident. He was a very outgoing, hardworking & devoted man with great piloting skills. He will be greatly missed by all who new him. I'm sure he will be riding co-pilot with all of us who new and respected him. I also appoligize for not making the service for Mike as weather kept me from making it into Lewistown. I'm sure it was a very nice service. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you in this time of sorrow. Sincerely, Mark Mamuzich.

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written by Matt Jurgensen, May 21, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi & Brian. I am so sorry for your loss. He was an outstanding man. He brightened every room that he walked into. Even by phone or email, he always put a smile on my face and made the day better. When I look into the blue skies I think of Mike. I miss him dearly.

Happy Landings Mike. Keep 'em smilin up there!

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written by Dale Pfau, May 20, 2011

Connie and family, all of us here at Don's want you to know that we are keeping you in our hearts and prayers. Mike was an amazing guy. We will always remember him for taking time to visit no matter how busy he was. May the good lord keep you in the palm of his hand and watch over you in your time of need.

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written by Rod McKenzie, May 20, 2011

Connie,Brandi, Brian, and the Biggerstaff Family

My heartfelt sympathy to you all at Mike's loss. Words are difficult at times like this and I share your sorrow.
At his passing,I have lost a lifelong friend. Please know that even though I'm unable to attend his services, my thoughts,and prayers are with you.

I would like to share a couple of my memories of Mike.

I first met Mike in 1966 at college in Bozeman or more precisely, at Gallatin Flying Service at the airport in Belgrade. It seems we were both in love with airplanes,and attending MSU provided a handy excuse for hanging around the airport. Any actual education achieved in attending that fine institution was merely considered a bonus to our main objective which was to fly.
Mike and I soon became great friends. We also became roommates when Mike bought a trailer in Belgrade and invited (coerced) me to move in to help pay the bills. This became a fine arrangement. We drank some beer,(with great success), chased some girls,(mostly with lesser success),and most importantly,we were close to the airport.

These were lean times for starving flight instructors,often leading to impromptu car races from our last class at MSU to the airport. The winner of this contest got to ambush any potential student who walked through the door and in so doing,might make a couple of bucks for the day. Barring the appearance of unsuspecting students, the winner then got first dibs on the coveted Gallatin Flying Service form fitted couch (the one with the spring poking through the middle), provided of course that it wasn't already occupied by Big Jim Stradley. (Patriarch of GFS and a man whom Mike and I and nearly everyone held in awe and utmost respect.)

We flew together as often as possible. Our aircraft of choice being the Super Cub in which Mike proved to be a Master. (Yes, you can wash a cub's belly by dragging it's wheels through a farmers irrigation pond !).

When my draft board lottery number dictated that I would soon be poking around in the jungle's of Viet Nam packing a rifle, Mike suggested (strongly) that I join the Montana Air National Guard of which he was a member. Mike allowed as that since I was big and ugly, I would be a fine target and that rent paying roommates were hard to find. Thanks Mike.

Many good memories.

I was honored to attend Mike and Connie"s wedding, and shared his joy at the birth of Brandi and Brian.

Mike was a man of honor and integrity. He loved his family, his friends, and his country. He loved to fly.

I will miss his distinctive voice on the phone. I will miss his infectious laugh, and his great sense of humor. I will miss his annual Christmas card and his terrible penmanship.

I will miss my friend.

Blue skies and tailwinds Mike.





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written by Joe Woolslayer, May 20, 2011

Mike when a friend is taken...I mean a true friend... like you...it is a loss not to be gotten over...A Spiritual void...And a personal loss.

You were always my advocate! We spoke seriously about flying and relationships...And laughed about all of it too!

I always looked forward to seeing you flying fires in Montana!!!

Your expressions and sophisticated humor...I got it!

Mike you were my friend ... You were sincere and thoughtful...Thank you...

You have gone to Heaven...I know you are okay now.

I'm sure you will get this email...!!!

your friend Joe Woolslayer

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written by ron fancher, May 20, 2011

my condolences to the family. my father, e.p. fancher, was also killed in a crop-dusting accident in texas in 1971. i hope mike had as grand a life as dad did

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written by Alvin and Barbara Hirsch, Angela,Mt., May 20, 2011

We are so very sorry for your loss. Alvin thought a lot of Mike.Please know that we will keep you and your family in our prayers.And all in aviation will miss Mike for a long time.

Sincerely

Alvin and Barb Hirsch

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written by Miles City Hangar, May 20, 2011

We are so sorry for your loss. Please know that you and your family will be in all our prayers.
Sincerely

Officers and Members of Miles City Hangar

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written by Tyrel Hendrickson, Chester Montana, May 20, 2011

Dear Mike’s Family,
I cannot express my sorrow for your loss. Over the last few years, I had the opportunity to get to know Mike. As a young pilot myself, I enjoyed all the advice he was willing to give. I feel bad that I will not be able to make his service today. He will be very missed around the hanger.

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written by Diane Torgerson (Nanny), May 19, 2011

Connie, Brandi and Brian,

If we are lucky enough in our lifetime, we meet someone who leaves an everlasting smile in our heart - for me that was Michael. The first time he came to our apartment, he acted like he had always known me and right off the bat, I was a member of the family. How many newly married guys actually invite their new bride’s ex-roommate to come live with them - Michael did! It was the hardest time of my life and Michael knew that I needed the two of you (and Buttons) and the love you had to offer. He always made sure that we were busy, if it wasn’t planting that HUGE garden, it was one of our famous picnics complete with all the Dr. Pepper we could drink! I look back at those months and can’t help but smile especially when I think about my first ever airplane flight. I remember flying over Bozeman that night and how Michael was both my pilot and flight attendant by graciously pointing out all the sites so I didn’t miss anything. When we were approaching the airport in Belgrade, Michael said, “Nanny, do you want to land with the lights on or off?” Like a fool, I assumed he meant the lights on the plane. I quickly figured out what he meant as soon as the runway lights went dark! Michael made everything memorable with his sense of humor and the love and compassion he showed everyone. I know you are hurting now, just remember that Michael loved you so much. So do I, and whenever you need me, I’ll be there cause that’s what Nanny’s do.

Rest in peace, Michael.

Nanny

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written by Shawn "Tater" Erickson Reformed Chem sales rep, May 19, 2011

Biggerstaff Family,
I am honored to call Mike my friend and mentor. I have grown up in the chemical business with Mike only a phone call away to receive a laugh or advice. He always kept tabs on me, informing me I forgot to wave, or I didn't stop for pie and coffee. Connie I know we where not supose to tell you about the pie but it wont hurt to come clean now. I think some of the other chem reps had a twenty dollar bill for Mike if he could make me sick when we went flying, he never quite did that he knew of, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. It hurts very bad to lose my friend but I am so lucky to call him friend.

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written by Darrin Pluhar, May 19, 2011

Dear Connie and family.
Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. I was extremely saddened by Mike's passing at a far too soon time. Mike was a good friend that always wanted to do the right thing for people. I will always remember the first time I met Mike at my first pattern check in Lewistown in the mid 90's when he met me as I taxied in to shake my hand and welcome me. He took me under his "wing" to show me the ropes and make me feel right at home, which I was very appreciative. Mike did that with everyone and that was the type of guy he was. I always enjoyed getting his "newsflash" updates on current events no matter where he was working around the country. He was a true advocate of the aerial application industry, but more importantly, he was an all around good guy who would do anything for you. God bless all of you!

Rest in peace, Mike!

Darrin Pluhar

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written by Kay Baxter, May 19, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi & Brian, I have never met you but Worked with Mike, I loaded fuel and retardant on his plane and know he loved you all very much. The world lost one of it's best.
Peace and love to you, Kay

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written by Kirby Johnston, May 19, 2011

Dear Connie and Family,
Words cannot express the saddness we feel. The stories and the experiences will be with us always. Kirby had to leave for Arizona on Tues. I know it was very hard on him not to be able to be here for you and for Mike. Our deepest Love and sympathy...Mike will be greatly missed.
Kirby and Lynn Johnston

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written by Audrey Cotterman, May 19, 2011

"Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin it's power. But thank God! he gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord, Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Dearest Connie, Brian, and Brandi, I am so sorry for the loss of Mike. My heart aches that I am not there with you. I am comforted by the fact that God is; that He is your help and comfort in this time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). Please know that my family and I are relishing dear and sweet memories of Mike and that we are sending our love in spirit. God Bless you all.

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written by Clint Bersuch, May 19, 2011

I don't even know where to start. Some of my earliest memories of being at the airport somehow involve Mike. I fondly remember flying with Mike in the early 80's when we did some of the ASCS flying for my grandparents Pat & Willy Rimby. Far too often I would drive through Stanford on my way to or from Great Falls and I'd always look over to see if Mike was home. I'd look for his Camaro or that Monte Carlo he had. I'd always think I should stop and say hi but I never did and now I'll never get that chance. Bye Mike. I'll miss you more than you'll ever know.

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written by Russell Pederson, May 19, 2011

Please accept my condolences. I was on the MAA board with Mike back in the early 90's. He was a good guy and will be remembered as such. God bless you during this time. Russell Pederson, Hobson, MT (Pederson Spraying Inc, Circle, MT)

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written by Matt Lutz, May 19, 2011

Connie, Brandi and Brian, Mike was a great coworker, mentor and friend. I will miss being with him flying on fires in the summer. Seeing his swim shorts hanging under the wing of the airplane to dry after his morning swim. His countless phone calls just to check in or tell you about something he had just read. I remember one time I was flying home to Lewistown from Fort Benton. Your dad was spraying on the Coffee Creek Bench. He guided me to the field he was spraying on the unicom frequency, I showed up and just followed him around his racetrack. We talked on the radio as two people talk on the phone. He finished his field and flew to Stanford and I went on to Lewistown. I guess you sometimes don't realize how much a person is involved in your life until their gone. I feel fortunate to have so many good memories. Mike was a great friend and if there is anything I can do to help, please call.

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written by Mike King, DuPont Sales, Retired, May 17, 2011

To the Family of Mike Biggerstaff.
Please accept my and my family's condolences on Mike's passing. He was a good friend and a good and honest, hard-working man and he will be greatly missed. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

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written by Ron Schneider, Wisconsin DNR, May 17, 2011

My thoughts are with you for losing Mike. Thank you to Mike's family for allowing him to live his dream flying. I last heard Mike sign off leaving Wisconsin during his fire suppression work on his way to Aberdeen on that Sunday evening, not knowing it would be his last completed flight. Many thoughts and prayers from Wisconsin firefighters.

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written by Dennie & Lou Stokes, Earle Arkansas, May 17, 2011

Dear Connie, Mike was truely a people person. The aerial application family will miss him as well. We always enjoyed the times we got to visit with him at the different conventions and the phone calls. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. May God hold you close in this sad time.

Dennie & Lou

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written by Dennie & Lou Stokes, Earle Arkansas, May 17, 2011

Dear Connie & Family, Mike was definetly a people person. We loved to visit with him and enjoyed the times we spent with him at all the different conventions. He will be missed by his aerial application
family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all in this sad time but know that God will hold you close.
Dennie & Lou

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written by Gaylon & Pat Stamps, May 17, 2011

The "cropduster" community is a tight group. If one falls next door, in the next state or across the country, many lives are touched. And many are touched now because Mike's arms of friendship extended a so far away. May God bless you in the next days.

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written by Bruce Moen, May 17, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi and Brian - So sorry to hear the news of Mike's last flight. I'll always remember my summer visits to the Biggerstaff ranches near Hilger to visit Grandpa Biggy. On those trips, I always looked forward to spending time at Ronald's place with Ronnie, Ardis, Danny and Mikey. I enjoyed re-acquainting with Mike at Grandma May's inurnment in 1999 and while passing through Stanford in 2000. My wish is that the hurt you must be feeling from the absence of Mike will be assuaged with many fond memories. Bruce (May (Biggerstaff) Bolton's Grandson)

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written by Bill Lavender / AgAir Update, May 16, 2011

To the Biggerstaff Family: I meet Mike at least 15 years ago at a crop duster spray clinic in Lewiston. It was my first trip to Montana and he made a point of having me feel at home. Every time we'd see each other over the years, he would always ask me to go snowmobiling with him. We'd joke, as I told him anything that needed hand warmers operated in too cold of weather for a Georgia-boy. I can't ever recall Mike without his smile and his heartfelt questions about where my last travels had been and anything ag-aviation. I'll miss visiting with him. May God walk with you during these trying times.

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written by Terri Lynn Klein, May 16, 2011

Connie, Brandi, and Brian,
Words can't take away the pain you are feeling at this time. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Mike will live on forever in your hearts and memories. May you find comfort in those memories. So sorry for your loss.
Terri, Steve and Kelsey Klein

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written by Laura Linse Wilson, May 16, 2011

Dear Biggerstaff family, I knew Mike in school as a very special person. Always smiling and eager to help his friends and classmate. Our parents were friends and they always thought Mike a great guy. God has plans we do not know but one thing we do know is he must have love him so much to take him at this time . No words can express my sorrow for you, God bless and keep you strong.

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written by Dana Ness and Family, May 16, 2011

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Mike will be missed by many, but will on in all of our hearts and minds. Tailwinds & Happy Landings Mike

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written by Victoria Coats Eldridge, May 16, 2011

Connie, Brandi and Brian, Your dad was a great guy. He will be missed but left good memories. I can remember the times that he would walk across the road to grandma's cafe to have coffee with the guys. There was alot of memories talked about the center table at the big window. I enjoyed visiting with them. He did alot for the community and will be miss. Keep your head high and keep god with you. You all are in our families prayers. Miss you. Love, Vicky and Shawn Eldridge

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written by Tim and Teresa Wilhelms, May 16, 2011

Connie and family, Tim and I are so sorry for the loss of husband, father, brother and friend. We will miss him stopping to ask us if we knew who won the race, those extra dog treats for our dog but most of all the laugh at coffee time. We love you Connie and our prayers will be with you and your family. God Bless you all.

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written by Darcy Schindler, May 16, 2011

Connie, Brian, and Bradi-We are so sorry for the loss of your husband, father, and one great person. His humor and laugh will live on in our memories. He was truly a beautiful person, he was kind to everyone around him. I always looked forward to seeing B when I got back to Stanford. He will be greatly missed around the Stanford area. Our thoughts and Prayers are with you and your family. Darcy, Ann, Gregory and Addison Schindler

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written by Mark & Kim Holzer and Family, May 16, 2011

Well "Big B" as you make your solo journey to Heaven, tip your wings towards Stanford for one last bow. Thanks for always doing your best to make our fields greener and richer and thanks for always taking care of George and my Dad when they came home to make some pit stops and visit. You are going to be missed very much. Our sincere condolences to you Connie and the Biggerstaff family.

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written by Debbie Pratt(Barber), May 15, 2011

Connie,Brandi and Brian
All my sincere sympathys to your family. I will always have memories of your dad and how much he was there for me when my dad was away at work. He always looked out for me and gave me good advise. All my childhood memories involve your dad and all of your family. I am so glad that I was blessed to get to know your dad and observe all the love he had for all of you. He always had such great words for you(Brandi and Brian). I will miss his great smile and his sense of humor. He will be missed by all and all I can say is god bless and my prayers are with all of you now and forever. Debbie Pratt(Barber)

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written by Tom Hlavnicka, May 15, 2011

Connie, Brandi, and Brian. I really enjoyed the time I spent on fire contracts with our "Mr. Big". His sense of humor and great personality was a pleasure to be around. We all thought the world of him. Our industry lost one of the best. We will miss you at debrief my friend.

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written by LESLIE JOHNSON MICHELETTO, May 15, 2011

TO THE BIGGERSTAFF FAMILY, I AM THE GRAND-DAUGHTER OF ED AND JEAN BIGGERSTAFF....MY MOTHER WAS MARGARET BIGERSTAFF JOHNSON. OUR FAMILY IS SO SORRY TO HEAR OF THE PASSING OF MICHAEL. EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE NEVER MET, IT IS ALWAYS SAD TO LOSE A FAMILY MEMBER. OUR FAMILY WILL KEEP YOU ALL IN OUR PRAYERS AS YOU GO THROUGH THIS SAD TIME IN YOUR LIVES. GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS MICHAEL'S MEMORY. SINCERELY, RICHARD (SKIP) JOHNSON, LESLIE JOHNSON MICHELTTO, GARY JOHNSON AND JEAN JOHNSON MCPHERSON. (BILLINGS, FORT PECK, MISSOULA AND COTTAGE GROVE, MN)

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written by Dick Lemm, May 15, 2011

Mike was a friend of mine for 40+ years.He was an oustanding and talented individual.He will be missed by many.Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

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written by Ron Biggerstaff, May 15, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi & Brian.
We all loved Mike so much. I miss my little bro. He was the key to so many great stories and memories.
Love,
Uncle Ron

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written by Steve @ Watkins Shepard, May 15, 2011

Dear Connie, Words seem to fail...sorry.

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written by Ardis Rice, May 15, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi and Brian and Cassie dog,
We all loved Mike so much and will miss him dearly.
Love and hugs and pats,
Your sis,and auntie Ardis

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written by Ardis Rice, May 15, 2011

I remember when you were born, Mike, one week before Christmas. Ron,Dan, and I spent Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma's because the hospital required stay was 10 days and the Dr. wouldn't let Mom come home for Christmas. Uncle Tom and Esther brought a tiny tree with clear plastic Christmas balls embossed with a fuzzy white snowflake. Mom placed one of these balls on every tree for 65 years. We commemorated Mike's birthday with a symbolic hanging of this Christams ball in St.Vincents hospital where Mom was a patient just before Christmas 2010. This party was a huge success.We honored and celebrated you then Mike and we do now too. Love you Sis

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written by Sherry Biggerstaff, May 15, 2011

Dear Connie, Brandi & Brian. I loved my brother-in-law and will miss him and his sly little grin. We each have our place in time, and if we live right, we change that place and that time for the better. Our Mike lived a good life and made a real difference. Love and hugs for all of you. Sherry

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