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Michael “Mikey” Radford, age 77, loving husband, father of 3 and a friend to so many, passed away on October 18, 2023 at his home with his family by his side. Mike is now in the arms of his Heavenly Eternal Father. His passing was due to complications of PSP.
Army Veteran, Baseball Player, Pilot, TV Producer, Speaker, Entertainer & Author.
Mike was born on Oct 14, 1946 in Vancouver, WA and was raised in Fair Oaks, CA.
In 1964, he served his country in the US Army, stationed in Germany as a Medic X-Ray Technician.
He loved baseball at a young age and always dreamed of playing for the Big Leagues. In the spring of 1969, He got his chance with the Kansas City Royals. As a Shortstop, he got a stand-up double and then they released him, saying he was 22 and too old! He would always laugh and say “it was a very short stop!”
Mike had a very diverse and active career. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he used his GI Bill to become a pilot. This path led him to be a private and commercial pilot as well as a Flight Instructor during his time in Florida.
Upon moving back to California, Mike embarked on a TV broadcasting career working for ABC Television in Los Angeles, having won an award for his documentary called “Mentors, The Power of Example.”
Mike had such wonderful opportunities to meet so many stars and entertainers and prided himself with getting to the “heart” of every person he interviewed.
In 1989, Mike met the love of his life, and married Shari Knott (originally from Eau Claire) who at the time lived in Southern California. They celebrated 33 glorious years together.
Mike and Shari had a video production company and enjoyed producing corporate videos as well as a Newport Beach cable show, called “The California Spirit”.
They later moved back to Wisconsin where Mike embarked on a successful speaking career. It was upon returning from a speech at the Capital that an encounter on the highway inspired Mike to create their hit stage show called “Mike Radford’s Remember When Show”.
In 1995 they took their show to Branson, MO, which enjoyed 9 successful seasons. In 1998 the show won the Branson Achievement Award.
Within their show they had a touching Veterans tribute which resulted in the building of two “Hall of Heroes” to honor Veterans and active duty military personnel.
The Missouri House of Representatives recognized his dedication to patriotism by awarding Mike a resolution earning him the title as “America’s Ambassador of Patriotism”.
In addition, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awarded Mike with the distinguished Bob Hope Award for “Excellence in Entertainment”. Mike also wrote six books along with a coloring book called “Mikey & Shari Learn About Patriotism”.
In 2009 Mike and Shari moved back to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to be closer to Shari’s family. Mike took on the most important role of his life as being a caretaker for Shari’s father, and later to her mother.
He loved Life and lived it to its fullest. He touched and encouraged so many and will be greatly missed.
Mike is survived by his loving wife Shari, his children, Melissa (Jason) Martin of Chipley, FL, Andrew (Grace) Radford, Mission Viejo, CA and Kristin (Joe) Bland, Bethesda, MD and Grandchildren, Devin, Dustin, Dylan, Gia, Christian, James, Michael, Arden, Zane, Minxia, Maddox, Violet, & Olen along two Great Grandchildren, Vidalia & Tallulah.
His sister, Lynn Wilson, Eugene, OR. Sister-in-Laws, Carol Knight and Linda Knott, both from Eau Claire, WI. Nephew Ryan (Heather) Wilson, Niece Cieara (Kyle) Rogers, Niece, Crystal (Joe) Strauch & daughter Lexie, Nephews Joseph Knight, and Eric Knight.
Mike is preceded in death by his parents, Gerald and Violet Radford, Father & Mother In-Law, Robert & Doris Knott, and Brother-In-Law Keith Knight.
A Celebration of Life will be held at The Florian Gardens Conference Center, 2340 Lorch Ave, Eau Claire, WI, on Sunday, October 29, 2023 from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, with a program at 3:00 pm. Inurnment will take place at Lakeview Cemetery at a later date.
A warm thank you to St Joseph’s Hospice Care and to those who assisted with Mike’s needs; especially Mary Lee, Pastor Mark and their caring team. Also, thanks to Home Instead and a special thanks to Debbie for all she did to keep Mike comfortable.
To view an additional tribute video, https://1tbryan1.editorx.io/michael-radford.
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.