Michael F. Lies passed away on Sunday, March 7, 2021. He was 89 years old.
Mike lived a life defined by family, community, and service. He was born February 27, 1932, in Douglas, ND, to Peter and Helen Lies. His parents were farmers, and Mike was the oldest of their brood of six boys: Mike, Peter, Dan, Vincent, Howard, and Bernard.
From an early age, Mike was an industrious tinkerer, a quality that served him and others well throughout his life. As the eldest, he was always helping around the home with chores and other tasks. By the time he was 16, he had taken over the operation of the farm due to his father’s poor health. Mike even figured out how to wire his family’s home for electricity once it came to the area. For the rest of his life, Mike continued to do projects—small and big, electrical and otherwise—to help family and friends.
Around the time he was twenty, Mike met Regina (Jean) Meyer, the love of his life. They courted for about a year, and Jean would often take the train to visit him, though she had to carry her things in a sack for lack of a suitcase. One day, Mike surprised her with a new suitcase that cost him a week’s wages. Mike and Jean married on May 21, 1953. Sixty-eight years of marriage later, Jean still has that suitcase with her.
Soon after Mike and Jean started dating, Mike was drafted into the Korean War. He served as an intelligence analyst and, after a brief stint in the Pentagon, was assigned to Fort Collins, CO. Following an honorable discharge, Mike studied at Minot State University under the GI Bill. He decided to become a teacher, and taught in Fairview, MT. He then received a grant to obtain a master’s degree from the University of Utah. He later taught in Sterling, CO, before relocating to Polson, MT, where he taught sciences for thirty years.
Mike was an active member of the Catholic Church. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Elks Club. He served on Polson’s City Council and was also elected mayor. Mike was proud he was able to serve his community but would often point out with a chuckle that his closest opponent in the mayoral race was Bugs Bunny, who received two votes in the popular election. Mike’s commitment to his community did not wane with age. Even towards the end of his life, he volunteered his time to others, collecting thousands of pounds of food weekly to deliver to the local food pantry.
Mike’s was a life to be honored. He embodied the meaning of service, and exemplified kindness and long suffering. He was a (lovable) perfectionist but got a lot of things right. He will be missed by his church, his community, and, most of all, his family.
Mike is survived by his wife, Jean; his two sons, Robert (Kathy) and Mark (Michelle); his four grandchildren, Taylor Lies, Tyson Lies, Marissa Ann Schenk, and Teigan Lies; and his ten great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers Peter (Joy); Dan (Gloria); Vincent (Donna); Howard (Phillis); and Bernard.
A graveside service with full military honors will be held Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 11:00 am at Lakeview Cemetery in Polson.