In Memory of




Obituary for Donald George Michau

Donald George Michau
January 28, 1950 - December 4, 2020, age 70 years

Don was born on January 28, 1950, in Chicago to Lily Jane Michau (née Crabb) and Albert George Michau. Don passed away on Friday, December 4, 2020 on route to his winter home in Cave Creek, Arizona. As a retired snowbird, Don enjoyed sharing his time between his kids and grandchildren living in Illinois and Arizona. Above all else in this world, Don loved and cherished his children and grandchildren.

Retiring early, Don enjoyed traveling to different places with his family. Don was an explorer and adventurer; hiking the Great Wall of China with his son, Doug, and touring Germany and parts of Europe with Doug, his daughter Cheryl and niece Becky. Don loved Germany and staying in the castles dotting the German countryside.

Don also loved visiting sites throughout the United States and places dear to his heart. This past summer, Don hiked to Stowe Pinnacle, 1604 feet elevation gain with his son Doug and son-in-law Chris. Don crawled and squeezed through the obstacle towers and tunnels with his daughter Stacey, son-in-law Lou, and his grandchildren Madison, and Little Louie at the St. Louis City Museum and shared an all-inclusive trip to Mexico with the family for Madison’s golden birthday celebration. During the winter, Don sought adventure in the southwest, hiking to Fossil Creek with his daughter Cheryl and grandkids, Ashley, Nathan, and Brendan. Although he may have complained about the drive or traffic, as a loving PaPa, he took Ashley to basketball practice. He taught Nathan to shoot a BB gun, and just surprised Brendan with a thrilling gift of mini Yoda.

As a young man, Don graduated Evergreen High School in 1968 and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1970. Don completed Technical Aircraft School and served honorably in the Naval Air as an Aviation Structural Mechanic, and later joined the Navy Reserves. Don proudly provided support for aircraft and airborne weapon systems for the Navy; maintaining flight surfaces and controls, and managing hydraulic and pneumatic controls. His work in the Navy Air fueled his love for mechanical systems and Don’s ability to tackle and solve such problems throughout his entire life. In the Naval Air, Don flew with the crews across the United States and around the world on the F4 Phantom. He relayed stories of bringing up lobster from his landings in Bangor, Maine to share with his fellow servicemen in the Midwest and relayed edgingly romantically sordid stories of his landings in Portugal. He always thought himself a lady’s man! He parachuted from planes without hesitation; once taking a bar bet to jump. Don was proud of his service in the United States Navy. Don faced challenges head on, without fear.

After his time in the Navy, Don grew out a thick mustache and married his first love Adele, celebrating their marriage in December 1972. Adele herself was called from this Earth after starting a life together with Don; having their firstborn son, Doug, and the birth of their daughter, Cheryl. Don re-married Debbie and became father to his baby girl Stacey, and stepchildren Kelly and Annette in a home Don himself built in Homer Glen, Illinois. Family vacations included Don trekking the family south to Florida to visit his parent’s winter home in Fort Myers and closer, yet, to home to enjoy the cottage on Cedar Lake. Don thrilled and frightened his sailboat passengers heeling his boat to the max. Don loved the thrill of cutting through the water at the boat’s edge, knowing that the hull would always prevent him from completely tipping and drowning his passengers!

Don was a proud lifetime member of Pipefitter Union Local 597 and was the most honest HVAC person the world has ever known! Don would not just replace a furnace that wasn't working but Don took the time to problem-solve and fix the mechanics! He worked tirelessly in trying to help his brother Scotty learn the same business and have his brother share in the same high-level of work ethic Don lived by.

Don worked decades-long careers at Johnson Controls and Precision Air. Don had a mechanical mindset. As a life-long learner, Don had a willingness to tackle just about anything. He was proud of his knowledge of controls and being able to keep systems working for his clients. As a man so knowledgeable in HVAC systems and controls, Don charitably cared for the sisters heating and cooling of the Mantellate Sisters Servants of Mary center in Plainfield, Illinois for many decades. The sister’s private ponds were one of Don’s favorite fishing spots. He would boast of the largemouth bass he would catch there, sometimes catching them without bait on the line! Nothing excited him more than showing off a great catch and sharing a great fish tale!

Don took great pride in maintaining and continually improving his homes in Illinois and Arizona. He loved home improvement projects and had rehabbed many different homes throughout his life, and as a real estate investor with his sister Christine and brother-in-law Bill. Don was always on the lookout for a good real estate deal; knowing when to buy and sell homes at the most opportune time was a knack of his. Don likened himself to a real estate mogul! But more importantly, Don relished teaching his kids and grandchildren these skills. Don wanted his family to learn how to burnish and sweat copper piping, bend conduit with ease, pull new electrical wiring, and so much more. Don wanted to develop in his family the strong work ethic with which he himself lived by.

As a man of many talents and someone who took great pride in completing his own home improvement projects, Don recently remodeled his home in Round Lake Beach, Illinois; most recently putting in a new kitchen and an expansive deck out back. Don also built a deck for his daughter Stacey and son-in-law Lou. He remodeled his son’s kitchen and baths, and installed a new HVAC system for Doug and Chris. He also tackled many home projects for his daughter Cheryl, enabling Cheryl and his grandchildren to move to Arizona and spend time with him during his Arizona on-season. He enjoyed sharing his talents for doing such work with his kids, family, and friends. Don was never one to be afraid to lend a hand, sometimes no matter how unsafe or ill-judged the task may have been. He held a very special place in the hearts of so many just for tackling the unthinkable with great skill and just sometimes, complete abandonment of safety.

If there was electricity work that was needed, Don could do it! Plumbing work, Don could do it! Cabinetry, tile work, Don could do it! You name it, Don could do it! Or Don would learn how to do it! Don mixed and poured his own concrete sidewalk, repaired his sunken driveway, and set out to do anything that he thought needed to be done or improved upon!

Don worked hard and played hard, too! He loved board games, especially Sequence, and card games. He was competitive in his own-invented “9” card game and Kings in the Corner! Most of all in the summer, he loved a competitive bean bag game, and earlier, rounds of disc-golf, along with an ice-cold beer and perhaps a cigar. He loved a hot, long soak in a hot tub. Or just getting out for a hike or bike ride in the forest or desert that surrounded him where he lived. Don loved the great outdoors!

Don owned several sail and motorboats and campers throughout the years. He loved being on the water, especially at his parent’s cottage on Cedar Lake, Indiana. Don loved camping, especially in Shelbyville, Illinois where he had hoped to return with a new camper. Don loved biking and loved hiking, especially with his dogs in tow. Don lost his beloved Zima Girl in January 2007 and is survived by his beloved Baby Dog--his best buddy and travel companion for so many trips to Arizona.

When in nature, as in all aspects of Don’s life, if there was a challenge on the trail, Don would tackle that challenge face-on; like keeping his balance in walking across a log stretched over a ravine or river or hiking to the top of a mountain lookout. In all, Don encouraged and motivated others towards the same accomplishments in his own competitive push to not accept the limits of what someone only thought they could do in life. “Aww Come on!” he would stir them on to doing more--to doing the challenge life put in the way.

For sure, Don was a real “wheel and deal” type of guy! Don never wanted to let someone get the advantage or competitive edge over him. He was an avid bargain hunter often taking his bargain-shopping to a fever pitch! Don always wanted a deal and would usually get it or he would walk away. Don was sure to always ask for his veteran’s discount and loved the Veteran’s Day giveaways each year. The Veterans Day freebies were his version of Halloween Trick-or-Treating. He was proud of his service in the Navy and happy to accept the privileges he had earned through his service to the United States.

Don was a caring and loving husband, father, and PaPa. He loved his children and grandchildren above all else. Don only wanted the best for them. Don was an uncle and friend to many. He always had advice and shared that advice, and yes, sometimes gave it too readily. But Don’s advice was always shared out of his love and care for someone. Don, really was always right! He never asked a question, he didn’t already know the answer to!

Don is preceded in death by his first love, his wife Adele Michau (née Richkus); his mother Lily Jane Michau (née Crabb) and father Albert George Michau, his beloved Uncle Herbie Michau; and two nieces, Valerie and Dawn.

Don is survived by his brothers Scott (Carole) Michau, Allan (Susan) Michau, James (Andrea) Michau, Michael (Carol) Michau, his sisters Christine (William) Sturmer and Susie McCarthy, as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.

Closest to his heart, Don is survived by his son Doug (Chris Siegel) Michau; Cheryl Michau and grandchildren Ashley, Nathan, and Brendan Komyatti; and Stacey (Louis) Rojek and grandchildren Louis Jr. and Madison. Above all else in this world, Don loved his children and grandchildren. Don was a best friend to his son, an ever protective father to his daughters, a loving PaPa to his grandchildren, and a mentor to his son-in-laws.

Although Don’s passing leaves a hole in his family’s heart, Don leaves with them a legacy of life lessons of which to live by
1. Serve others through your work and be helpful. Strive to be honest and problem solve not just for yourself but for others sake.
2. Take on challenges no matter what they are. Try and attempt the obstacles in front of you, and if you don’t know how to do it, learn how.
3. Be confident, be fearless. “Aww Come on!”