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Michael was born on Aug. 8, 1940, to William Audrie Gardner and Wanda Lois Larrison Gardner, in Logansport.
He was a proud "Logansport Berry" and graduated in 1958 from Logansport High School. On Sept. 3, 1961, he married Carole Jean Hart and she survives. He is also survived by his two daughters, Tara Lynn Todd (Artie) and Jennifer Lane Messer; three grandchildren, Michael J. Kissinger Jr., Jessica Lauren McAmis (Elliott), and Rebecca Eileen Messer; two great-grandchildren, Olivia Lauren Phelps, and Nizaya Allen Kissinger; three sisters, Gloria Dawn Drach (Donald) of Winamac, Patricia Sue Bailey of San Antonio, Texas, and Bonnie Lou Majors (Mark) of Logansport; his mother-in-law, Margaret Q. Hart, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one son-in-law, Gregory Allen Messer.
Michael loved and appreciated his home, family and his six cats. He enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, and looked forward to visits from extended family members. Over the years, he and his wife, Carole, traveled to Jamaica, Tortola, Mexico, Hawaii, Germany, most U.S. states, and enjoyed many Wind Jammer Cruises.
Michael served in the Army National Guard, retiring after 20 years as a Master Sergeant. During that time, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal for exceptionally meritorious service as operations Sergeant for the Indiana Military Academy. He also received the Indiana Commendation Medal for his assistance during the blizzard of 1978.
Michael retired from Chrysler Corporation in 1998 as a Journeyman Electrician. After retiring, he became an avid weather observer and reported daily to the National Weather Service. He was the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) coordinator for Cass, Howard, Fulton, Pulaski and White counties. CoCoRaHS is the grassroots network of volunteer weather recorders who are the National Weather Service's eyes and ears on the ground. An appreciation award was presented to Michael in his home for his many years of service. Mike was also a HAM radio operator and past president of the Kokomo Amateur Radio Club. His call sign was N9AKU for a time and later N9MG.
Michael taught at Ivy Tech Community College, passing on his expertise in electrical basics and computer science. He continued his education after retiring and received his Associate Degree through Ivy Tech Community College in 2010, with honors and a 4.0 grade-point average. He was a Civil War buff, and at the time of his death, was pursuing classes though Hillsdale College on the Constitution of the United States.
His country and patriotism were paramount in his daily life. He loved telling jokes and stories, appreciated classical music, especially anything by Beethoven, and was a very well respected, kind, caring individual who would not hesitate to help a total stranger in need.
He will be sadly missed, but remembered with a smile, by family, friends, work associates, casual acquaintances, and especially by his favorite cat, Charlie.
Graveside service will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, at Bethel Cemetery, 450 E. 150 North, Logansport, with Cass County VFW military rites team performing full military rites.
Friends may visit with the family from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., also on Sunday, at Ellers Mortuary, 3400 S. Webster St., Kokomo.
You are invited to read Michael 's obituary at www.ellersmortuary.com, where you may sign the guest book or share a message for the family.
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