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MEL P. MICHENER  Obituary pic

MEL P. MICHENER

Born: Nov 27, 1930

Date of Passing: Oct 11, 2017

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MEL P. MICHENER It is with heavy hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of Mel Michener, our beloved husband, father and grandfather on October 11, 2017. Dad was born on November 27, 1930 to Arthur and Lillian Michener in Minneapolis and moved to Winnipeg at an early age. He was a proud graduate of St. Paul's High School and at the age of 16 entered the School of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. He graduated in 1952 and in 1954 at the age of 24, he and Gerald Libling founded Libling Michener and Associates. He said this was such an exciting time to be an architect in Winnipeg. It was a great time in his personal life as well. The same year he married mom, his beloved Pip (Mary Graham) and they began their loving 62 years of marriage. Dads professional life thrived as did his family as it grew with four children. A family filled with great memories of ski trips to Thunder Bay, Agassiz, Expo 67 and a road trip to B.C. with four kids (letters we found indicate that one might not have been fun for Mom!) and summers spent at the family cottage on Lake of the Woods, which was fun for everyone. There were many Sundays following church they would load us kids into the backseat of the car and the afternoon would be spent checking out buildings that were going up in Winnipeg. He loved this city and was so proud to be a part of building it at that time. Dad became a nationally recognized architect early in his career. He was a Fellow and Member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and a Member of the Manitoba Association of Architects. He worked on many projects at home and abroad where LM Architectural Group was a trusted and valued partner. From the Winnipeg Convention Centre to work throughout the U of M, U of W, Health Sciences Centre, the Victoria Hospital and so many more, Dad and his partners at what is now LM Architectural Group have a legacy of community buildings we are so proud of. As his career progressed he took on many board assignments such as National Trust, the University of Winnipeg as well as the President of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. He loved his profession and continued to go to the office long after his official retirement in 1996. He enjoyed mentoring young architects and continued to be excited by new design. He was an interested and curious person and while he was proud of his part in Winnipeg's past he was most interested in what was coming next and loved when he could be part of those discussions. His work pales in his commitment and love for his family and especially our mom. They were partners to the end as dad faithfully provided care for mom at home until it was not possible and then he visited everyday when she moved to River Park Gardens. Theirs was a love story full of friends, family and travel as they explored Europe, the Caribbean and the best spots in North America. They loved socializing, whether it was at St. Charles, Manitoba Club or in the homes of their many friends. They loved entertaining at 75 Darcy Drive, the home dad designed and lived in for over 50 years. He was simply excited by life. Always interested in politics, art and so appreciated good food. He wanted to know what his grandchildren were working on, what their opinions were, what they were excited about. He golfed from the time he was 12 until a few years ago and he so enjoyed sharing that passion with his grandsons. He had a deep love of music from classical, jazz and broadway. Listening to music at the end of his life still brought a beautiful smile to his face. He is survived by his wife Pippy, daughters, Kathleen, Anne Keast (Barry), Sarah and son Arthur (Joan). Honourary daughter/niece Kim Halverson (Rob), his sister Martha Evans (Lorne), sister-in-law Susan Graham and brother-in-law Joe Graham (Carolyn) and 11 nieces and nephews whom he knew well and all thought the world of their Uncle Mel. His grandchildren whom he was extraordinarily proud as they were of him, Branden Keast (Andrea), Riley Keast (Christy), Michael Keast, Brittany Alwis (Shawn), Chad Michener (Erika) and Jasmyn Michener (Reece). Great-grandchildren, Hudson, Shea, Sloane, Lennon, Jackson, Sevey and Ivy. The family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers who have been such an important part of his life in the last few years. Many thanks to Lucy, Terry and Marcia. Words can't express how grateful we are. Dad loved a party and in that fashion we are celebrating his remarkable life on Tuesday, October 17 at the St. Charles Golf and Country Club at 5:00 p.m. Please join us in toasting and sharing stories about our remarkable father. Earlier in the day we will be celebrating mass at 10:30 a.m. with Father Mark Tarrant presiding at St. Vital Catholic Church, 1629 Pembina Hwy. We would be so honoured by those who would like to join us as well. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Mel P. Michener Architectural Fellowship at the University of Manitoba. Dad you were a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Yours was a life well lived with kindness, honour, grace and dignity. You loved and you were beloved. Well done!

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 14, 2017

Condolences & Memories (10 entries)

  • Mel and Pippi were fine neighbours on D'Arcy Drive for 32 years. My sincere condolences to Sarah, Kathleen, Ann and Arthur. Marilyn Clarke - Posted by: Marilyn Clarke (Neighbour) on: Oct 22, 2017

  • During my years at LM, I gained a huge respect for Mel. His honest dedication and true passion for the built environment and for the people who not only produced those but also for the people who would use them was truly an inspiration. Mentor and friend, his zest for life was infectious. His light shone brightly and he will be sorely missed. - Posted by: Donna Todd (former employee) on: Oct 19, 2017

  • I'm an electrical engineer and over the years I worked on several projects in western Manitoba with LM Architectural. I didn't work directly with Mel but he was always a presence when I was in their office. I live in Dauphin and LM Architecture did the design work for the Parkland Recreation Complex back in 1995. When I was in their office Mel always had time to talk to me and ask me about life and things in general in Dauphin which I appreciated as he really had no obligation to do that. In my mind he was a true "gentleman" and that seems to be rare in the design and construction business. He will be remembered fondly in the design community. My condolences to the family. Allen J. Dunsmore, P.Eng - Posted by: Allen Dunsmore (Work associate) on: Oct 18, 2017

  • Terry of course is the one with the closer relationship with Mel as business partner, mentor and friend but I just wanted to say that I too have fond and cherished memories of Mel because of his interest in art. He was always so eager to talk with me about my latest art endeavors and wanted to be sure he was invited to any exhibitions. He was supportive and encouraging, and to get Mel's nod of approval, knowing his style and tastes, always made me feel I was on the right track and had to keep going and keep pushing. And ever so often I would notice a part of a globe and mail newspaper sitting on the counter at our back entrance and I knew just where it came from..... Mel had seen an article in the arts section that he thought I might be interested in reading, and of course if it came from Mel, yep it was always interesting. And finally I think perhaps one of the last trips he and Pip made to NYC may have been when we went together. That was a trip we will never forget, good food, good wine, art, architecture and best of all great company to share it with. - Posted by: debbie danelley (Terry's wife) on: Oct 17, 2017

  • I worked for Mel even before I joined LM Architectural Group. Mel was always respectful but firm, wise but never overbearing. I was able to spend many hours working for and along side Mel. Mel would work tirelessly, long after other staff had left for the day and he always has time to chat and solve your problems. When I started taking on my own work, Mel worked with me and even in his later years provided a design spark on my projects. Seven Oaks General Hospital has Mel to thank for their new front Entrance; its simplicity and elegance has Mel written all over it. Mel was gracious and reassuring when I left LM Architectural Group and asked that I stay in touch. Thank you Mel for the mentoring, guidance and friendship. Gods Speed Mel! - Posted by: Andrew Brimble () on: Oct 17, 2017

  • I was deeply saddened to hear of Mel’s passing. In reflecting on Mel, I was surprised to realize that I have known him for almost 50 years. I was a young interior designer at Environmental Space Planning in the 80s when he was a partner at LM Architecture and I came full circle many, many years later when I returned to LM. In the intervening years, I saw him in the summers at the cottage in Keewatin – we were two doors down from him. In those years, I came to know that Mel was a man who lived in the present. He didn’t rest on his laurels (of which there were many) but kept himself current, growing and always moving forward. I had seen him not too long ago in the emergency ward at Victoria Hospital (Pippy had fallen and he had brought her in to check to see that she was ok). As he was leaving, despite his obvious preoccupation for Pippy and needing the aid of a walker himself, he crossed a busy waiting room to say "hello" and express his hope that nothing serious was wrong with myself. He was grace itself. He was a true gentleman in the old-fashioned sense of the word - chivalrous, courteous and honourable... He will be sorely missed. - Posted by: Sandra Sasaki (past colleague) on: Oct 16, 2017

  • As a previous employee at the LM Architectural Group I had the pleasure of working with Mel. As a person he always had time to have a chat and as an architect he was passionate about the profession and would enjoy dialogue about design. I will sincerely miss him. - Posted by: Vince Kwiatkowski (Friend) on: Oct 16, 2017

  • So many great things about our father, but best of all he was a great friend. Thanks Dad - Posted by: Art Michener (Son) on: Oct 15, 2017

  • To the Michener Family, So sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I was fortunate to spend time with him and Pip on a trip to NYC with Sarah. We had a great time seeing shows on Broadway, having a lovely dinner, and conversing about anything and everything. I am glad to have been able to meet them both. - Posted by: Holly Binnig (Friend of Sarahs) on: Oct 15, 2017

  • Ann,Barry and family We are sorry for your loss, our thoughts are with all of you during this time. Bonnie, Ken and family - Posted by: KENNETH FLOCKTON (cousins to Barry & Ann Keast) on: Oct 14, 2017

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