Michael Thomas "Mike" Klonowski
April 21, 1969-May 22, 2015
Michael passed away on May 22, 2015, at the age of 46.
He was born on April 21,1969, in Redondo Beach California, to Tom and Kay Klonowski.
He spent his school years in Villa Park, California, where he graduated in the high school class of 1987.
Mike's early years were full of challenges. He was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2. After seven tough years he won the battle with this cancer. However, the effects of the battle would remain with him the rest of his life. Most noticeable was his small stature. He was always faced with measuring up, and he did, in every way. He was fiercely independent and faced every challenge with resolve and strength that made him the giant he was.
While in junior high school, he developed a strong interest in computers, and during that time there was a shortage of qualified computer instructors in the school system. Mike was known for his skill and was asked if he would like to volunteer as a basic instructor. It was a job he thoroughly enjoyed. It is rumored that several teachers audited the class to obtain their certifications.
During his life he became a licensed veterinary tech, a pharmacy tech and earned a bachelor's degree with a dual major from University of California, Riverside. He also held an advanced scuba diving certificate and was an accomplished photographer. During his college years he was the photo editor for the campus newspaper and freelanced, filming weddings, anniversaries, graduations and other events to help pay his college expenses. He spent several years as a member of the cast at Disneyland, primarily working in the Blue Lagoon. Mike always accomplished what he set out to do. All this from a guy 5' 1 and 110 pounds. However, the most important title, in his mind, was that of uncle. He loved and was extremely proud of his three nieces, Katja, Kiyomi and Kenna, and loved being called Uncle Mike. He followed their every adventure and would recite their successes on every occasion. In his professional life he worked for the Kroger Company in their corporate computer center in Portland. It was his dream job, working in a tech center with like-minded coworkers. He was a lead tech in the IT section when another medical mishap sidelined him.
It was then that he came to Brookings as part of his rehab. In Brookings he quickly developed a new circle of friends, and was a proud member of Elks Lodge 1934, where he attended and volunteered on bingo days. Mike was an animal lover and always had a companion dog or bird. He worked in animal hospitals and volunteered at the local animal shelters wherever he lived. Around Brookings, Mike was always accompanied by Skooter, his faithful companion who now is very lonely.
Mike and his all-in personality leave a big hole in the lives of his many friends and acquaintances.
He is survived by his parents Tom and Kay Klonowski of Brookings; brothers Matthew and his wife Lisa and their daughter Kiyomi of Santa Barbara, California, Kenneth and his wife Cara and their daughters Katja and Kenna of Dallas, Texas. He also has many aunts, uncles and cousins in several states who all will miss him.
We can be sure that as Mike continues his journey he will be well accepted and make his mark.
A burial mass and memorial will be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in his name to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or to Pennies for Pooches, P.O. Box 1883, in Gold Beach, OR 97444.
Submitted by his family.