Post Title: Mike’s Gifting, Passion and Service (Eulogy)

The Passing of My Brother

My brother, Michael T. Bovaird, passed away in the late afternoon of January 29, 2023. He had just turned 64 a few weeks earlier. I don’t know why but I was totally unprepared for it-such was my denial. Just the week before I had told the nursing we needed to set up an appointment for him to go to the dentist. I remembered he had said a few days earlier, “Amy, remember when you held Mom’s hand and stayed by her side when she was dying….” That should have been my clue. He wanted the same from me, and there is no question in my mind I would have  done exactly that. But that day seemed far off.

As circumstances would have it, I was sick and couldn’t visit for a few days. That’s when it happened. I received a call to come immediately to Mike.  In my scramble to find my shoes, I tossed my cell phone and couldn’t get the home phone to work. I ran to my neighbors in a panic. “Please take me to my brother. He  … is … dying.” I could hardly get the words out. I had to get there and be by his side!

I took a few moments to call my brother to tell him to meet me at the nursing home. When I arrived, I raced down the corridor to get to him. I finally reached his room, J-7, held his hand and talked to him, sobbing. I have no idea what I said. At some point later, the nurse tapped me on the shoulder and said he was gone—apparently before I arrived.

I was devastated—but someone later told me a person’s spirit lingers for about 30 minutes so maybe he heard me.

I dimly remember my younger brother and his wife standing a few feet away from his bed as I clung to him.

Today I want to share three aspects about my brother that stand out to me—his gifting, his passion and his service.

Mike and I at Kennedy Space Center, Fl in 2018

Mike’s Gifting

My brother and I were close in age—just nine months apart. I remember so well the day he received his driver’s license. His smile lit up his whole face. Driving served him well throughout his life. Almost all my memories revolve around his driving in some way. God gifted him with a love for driving and a way to help and encourage others with it—especially me.

  • West Virginia, summer job on campus – He drove up in his yellow convertible and took me and two friends to a drive-in movie. It was so fun.
  • Oklahoma – stayed on campus in the Men’s Dorm (but unfortunately, he got caught smoking and had to leave – my college was strict). We laughed about this for years after.
  • Texas – he drove straight from Erie to San Antonio and arrived with a broad smile. He remembered how to get to my apartment after just one visit. He moved my stuff in u-haul back home.
  • My dad’s antique limo service – Mike served as a chauffer and took the vehicles to weddings, proms and parties.
  • Mom and me – Mike drove us wherever we needed to go after Dad passed away.
  • Speaking Engagements – Mike loved driving me to speak at Lions Club meetings, and other speaking events.
  • His friends – he had friends who needed him to take them to run their errands and he did that joyfully.

Mike loved the open road and not only did he do it as a living for many years as an over-the-road semi-driver, he continued locally as a school bus driver and company driver. Driving always made him happy—unless he ran out of gas! He had a habit of choosing vehicles with broken gas gauges.

Mike’s Passions

  • Collections

(Child & Teen years): bubble gum baseball cards,  signs, old coins, stamps, bumper stickers, match box cars, match books,

(Adult) – commemorative state quarters, tin cas, matchbook cars, zippo lighters. local menus from eateries, Dream catchers, bank zipper bags, old Coca Cola and other name brand glass bottles, baseball memorabilia (bobble heads, cry towles, beach towels, hats, etc), t-shirts, hoodies, mugs (an extensive collection of which he was proud of), sneakers, socks, maps, license plates, lanyards, even pens.

  • Always in the process of buying and selling gold and silver bars, depending on the market
  • Seawolves (hometown Minors baseball team) biggest passion and die-hard fan

– always in line hours in advance at home games, when he could no longer attend due to illness, he listened to their games in the parking lot of the grocery store.

– chased foul balls

– (highlight) – caught Chase Numata’s home run ball, which went over the fence and had it signed by the popular player, who died two weeks later in a skateboarding accident.

I so enjoyed my brother’s enthusiasm when telling a story or when he reported a new find. His joy was contagious and always lifted me up. He could be precise and dogged in his determination, and that delighted me. Mike was a child at heart.

Mike in front of the Railway Express Agency truck the day years later, when it was sold.

Mike’s Service

  • Proud Veteran – he joined the Air Force right after high school.
  • He always thanked other veterans for their service at airports, in stores or wherever he learned they had served.
  • He enjoyed Veteran’s Day and its entitlements.
  • Fitting funeral with its 15-gun salute, the folded flag going to his son.

I was so proud of Mike’s service and always thanked God he and my brother-in-law could share that bond together. It served as a positive in his life, when he had so many other negatives to cope with. Mike was bi-polar, and had other demons he fought as well as increasing health issues. I tried hard to pour positive reminders of his self-worth into his life.

In my next post, I will share God’s lesson to me in what I learned as a legally blind caregiver.

Have you lost someone recently? How are you moving forward?


You have just read “Mike’s Gifting, Passion and Service” by Amy L. Bovaird. © April 18, 2023. All rights reserved.