Surrounded by his loving children, Michael Frank Sjoberg peacefully transitioned into Eternal Glory at the Pillars Hospice Home in Oakdale, on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.
He was born to Marlene (Popesh) and Mathew Sjoberg in Aurora on Aug. 28, 1962, and grew up in Hoyt Lakes. Mike was a 1980 graduate of Aurora-Hoyt Lakes High School, obtained his A.A. degree from Mesabi Community College, his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and his master’s degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Mike was an accomplished athlete – excelling in basketball and golf at A-HL, earning conference MVP honors in basketball and participating in the National NJCAA golf tournament at Mesabi, and playing varsity golf at UMD.
Mike married Denise Pederson on July 9, 1988, in Stillwater. They made their home(s) in Eagan where they welcomed Laura (’90), Thomas (’94) and Helayna (’98) into our world and raised all three children to be caring and successful adults. Above all, Mike was an extremely proud Dad and devoted husband, a very loyal family man.
After beginning his career as a teacher and coach in Crosby, Texas, Mike accepted a position as an assistant varsity basketball coach at Saint Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights in 1987 – the beginning of a distinguished career that would span three decades and leave an indelible mark upon that institution, which he loved. Shortly thereafter, he accepted a health and physical education teaching position, along with the co-head varsity golf coaching job, at STA. Their golf teams would go on to win fourteen consecutive conference championships. In 1994, Mike became the head basketball coach at Hastings High School, while continuing to teach, as well as coach football and golf, at St. Thomas. He was hired as the head basketball coach at St. Thomas in 1996, a position he held until 2014. His record as a head basketball coach was extraordinary, an overall record of 395-149 while consistently playing one of the toughest schedules in the state. His teams won nine conference and six section championships. Arguably, most impressive was his uncanny ability to have his teams prepared for the ultimate competition, as evidenced by the Cadet’s 14-4 record in Class AAA state tournament play under Mike’s tutelage – finishing in third place ’06, runner-up in ’00, ’01, and ’08, and winning State Championships in ’98 and ’07. Mike has recently been nominated for the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. He would be promoted to Dean of Students and later to Assistant Headmaster at the Academy. As a teacher, coach, and administrator, Mike was an outstanding leader of young men. He was consistent and demanding, always with an eye to the long-term development of his students. His efforts were recognized when the new competition gymnasium (which was a major part of a $35 million capital project at STA, in which Mike played an integral role at every step) was dedicated into perpetuity as the SJOBERG-FLYNN ARENA in 2013 – a facility that he opened as the basketball coach. Mike was working at Hoglund Bus Company at the time of his passing.
Moose, as he was affectionately known to many, had a special affinity for the outdoors. He “guided” many camping trips into Trout Lake, where we would portage into Oriniack. He looked forward to frequent trips to Canada, to fish walleye and lake trout, and hunt moose and bear. Mike’s favorite place in this world was Grandma and Grandpa Sjoberg’s place on Lake Vermilion, which he purchased when they became unable to live there. He always enjoyed spending time at the Lake, especially in the fall when we would carry on the family tradition of netting whitefish.
Mike loved to cook and had uncommon culinary talent. Whether it was at a barbeque, around a campfire, for a banquet at the Academy or many other gatherings – large and small, he took a great deal of pleasure in seeing others enjoy the fruits of his labors. Over the years, Mike and Denise welcomed many children and young adults into their home. He was the consummate leader – in every sense of the word. Mike had a profound impact on countless lives, he MADE a difference. Well done friend! Well done Brother!
Mike is survived by his: daughters Laura of San Jose, Calif., and Helayna of Minneapolis; son, Thomas of St. Louis Park; ex-wife, and mother of his children, Denise of Apple Valley; step-mother, Norma Sjoberg of Hoyt Lakes; brothers, Mathew “Chip” (Kathy) of Eveleth and Patrick “Red” (Trina) of Eagan; sister, Mary of Apple Valley; aunts and uncles: Judy and Jerry Fluegel, Margaret “Peg” and John Seliga, Betty Folkens, Frank “Bud” and Katy Popesh, and Joe Kingman; nieces and nephews – Madelyn, John, Joe, Grace, Jack and Kiran; cousins: Greg Fluegel, David Fluegel, Kim Mohrhauser, Michelle Seliga, Cara Barros, Kristen Turner, Jed Folkens, Mike Morley, Angie Patullo, Amanda Morley, Jodi Popesh, and Frank Popesh; and former mother-in-law, Marion Pederson.
He was preceded in death by his father, Mathew in 2017; and mother, Marlene in 1993; paternal grandparents, Lawrence and Ellen (Mickleson); maternal grandparents, Frank and Vida (Mesojedec) Popesh; aunts and uncles: Mary and Jerry Whittlesey, Kathy Kingman, and Patti and Mike Morley; and former father-in-law, Dwight Pederson.
The family thanks Mike’s many caregivers and is very grateful for the outpouring of love and support during this time.
Due to COVID restrictions, a public celebration(s) will be held at a later date.
A private Memorial Mass will be held Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the Cathedral of Saint Paul with Father John Ubel as celebrant.
Inurnment will be at a later date in the Lakeview Cemetery in Tower.