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Michael B. Belden

May 29, 1948 August 6, 2011
Michael B. Belden
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Obituary for Michael B. Belden

Michael Bour Belden was born on May 29, 1948 in Canton, Ohio, the third of seven children belonging to Daniel and Julia Belden. Mike, as he was known, grew up in Canton and went to Central Catholic High School. He spent some time working for the family business, sweating in the brickyard. He took a lot of pride in his job, even though he did not know he would one day sit on the company board. He left Canton one fall to go attend Boston College, where he majored in English and fell in love with the works of Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Eliot. He graduated from BC in 1970 and moved back to Ohio.

Mike met Mary in the summer of 1974. He took her to a Cleveland Indians baseball game for their first date. She must have liked baseball, or maybe she just learned to like it. Mike liked pepperoni pizza and Mary liked mushroom, so they got pepperoni and mushroom pizzas. Then he fell in love with her. She agreed to marry him two summers later, in August of 1976. Mike proposed over the phone. He lived in California at the time and their honeymoon consisted of the long drive from Canton to Los Angeles, with a stop in Ogallala, Nebraska. When they finally arrived in California, they took the ferry to Catalina Island, which was probably more romantic.

Mike and Mary stayed in California for another year, then moved to Michigan. Paul, their first child, was born in December of 1980. Paul, Mike soon found out, is allergic to peanuts, which must have been a shock because Mike had a serious affinity for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He loved Paul nonetheless. Laura, their second child, was born in April of 1983. She would quickly become the apple of his eye and the focus in many of his innumerable photographs. Todd, their third and final, was born in September of 1984. Todd peed on the nurse soon after he was born, immediately earning Mike�s respect and the nickname �Shooter.�

Soon after Todd was born, the family moved to Beverly Hills, Michigan. Some may consider this move to be a symbolic gesture, harkening back to the couple�s time in Los Angeles. This is not the case. The children were raised in Beverly Hills, went to local schools, and then went away to college. Mike was always demanding in their studies, supportive of their interests, and thrilled by their accomplishments, academic and otherwise. With the help of his mother, Mike put all three of his children through college�Paul went to Michigan, his father�s alma mater, while Laura and Todd went to Boston College, his own alma mater. Great guy that Mike was, he then sent them all to graduate school. He was again supportive and thrilled when Laura decided to go back once again, this time to law school. In many ways, Mike lived vicariously through his children, their education, and their passions.

Mike was also a champion of nature and animals and was lucky to have a series of great dogs. If asked, he would probably say that his favorite was Annie, the Golden Retriever, his �bestest girl ever.� Ella the Newfoundland certainly came next. Mike protected Ella as she protected him. Mike also kept a pocket full of treats and �specials,� spoiling Ella so badly that the dog soon outweighed Mary, his wife. The children found this to be hilarious. Mike also liked to watch hockey, but he would scare the dogs by shouting out �goal!� He made this up to them by giving them more treats.

When Paul moved to Los Angeles to begin his career in engineering, Mike and Mary were again thrilled. They visited him frequently and even drove out to see him. Some may consider this an echo of their honeymoon trip. This would be correct. Mike was pleased to see that his firstborn was well on his way, knowing also that his other two children were continuing to move forward into their own futures. At this point, Mike was very pleased with his life.

Mike passed away suddenly on August 6, 2011. It was the first Saturday of the month, so they tested the tornado siren, although there was no tornado. It began to rain in the early afternoon, although there was no thunder or lightening. Instead, after a series of surgeries and a great fight to hold on, Mike could not manage to fight any longer. He was surrounded by his wife and children, to whom he had given everything he could, supported in countless ways, and loved immensely.

His family continues to love him. Immensely.

Mike is survived by his beloved wife, Mary (nee Labutta) and children, Paul (fiancee, Kristen), Laura and Todd Belden. He is also survived by his mother, Julia Belden and siblings, Dan Belden, Mary Kay (Tom) Ciccarelli, Steve (Kathy) Belden, Andy (Sherri) Belden, Chris (Melissa) Belden, and Pat (Maureen) Belden. Mike is preceded in death by his father, Daniel Belden.

Visitation will take place at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Road (between 14-15 Mile Rds.) Tuesday 6-9pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, 32340 Pierce, Beverly Hills, Wednesday 11am. Friends may visit at church beginning at 10:30am.

Memorials appreciated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 24359 Northwestern Hwy, Ste 225, Southfield, Michigan 48075.

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