William (Bill) Mike

William (Bill) Mike was born on Nov. 22, 1929, in Biwabik, Minn., but he grew up in nearby Aurora. Proud of both his Finnish heritage and natural-born American citizenship Bill grew into manhood within a small, close-knit community while reveling in football, basketball, and baseball, as well as other, more introspective interests, namely, cross-country skiing and hunting. His dad, a pharmacist and owner of the town’s sole pharmacy, a family operation, immersed Bill in thrift and hard work, a fatherly tutelage eclipsed, possibly but not assuredly, by the impartation of an exquisite skill in bundling purchased store goods in kraft paper without the benefit of adhesive tape. Each assembly constituted an artisan’s montage of drill instructor creases, pointed corners, and razor seams. That skill later transcended to holiday presents and then to loaves of sweetbread that Bill baked in his retirement years by employing a ‘starter’—the ‘scratch’ of such baking.

Bill graduated with a forestry degree from the University of Minnesota in 1951, and thereafter spent two years in the army during the Korean War. He subsequently secured a position at the Western Electric Company, which employment afforded him the latitude to earn an MBA from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He specialized in telephonic cable quality control, an avenue that led him to several far-flung sites including Iran just before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He retired from the phone company in 1991 and moved to Eden, NC

Bill was a loving and devoted husband to his beloved wife Alice for 41 years. The couple worked tirelessly together to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ principally through personal witnessing and in concert with The Gideons International, its jail ministry in Rockingham County, Awana, a non-Gideons ministry to youths, and the Mikes’ many church activities. In that context, Bill was elected by the North Carolina Gideons as treasurer for three successive years (term limited) from 1993 till 1996. After three subsequent elections to vice president from 1996 till 1999, he became the state president from 1999 till 2002.

Bill’s soul and spirit departed at 12:30 pm on May 21, 2022—a lifetime falling just hours short of 92 and one-half years. Bill was preceded in death by his father, Charles Mike, mother, Selma (Sally) Mike, his sister, Char (nee Mike) Hatton, and wife, Alice (nee Forrest) Mike, who predeceased Bill by just 19 days. Bill is survived by his children James Mike of Denver, Colorado, Linda (nee Mike) Walsh and husband, James, of Bernardsville Township, New Jersey along with 7 grandchildren.

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