Visitation / Gathering in Michigan
Time of Sharing Memories (Michigan)
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Hospice Foundation of America
1707 L Street NW Suite 220
Washington, DC 20036
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Brilliant and likable, Michael Dennis Paul lived a life rich in family and friends. Mike was a fixer who relished the challenge of solving complex problems and lending a hand and his talents to help others. He could fix anything and never shied away from meticulously tinkering his way to creative solutions. While he stubbornly held onto his strong opinions, he was always good with children and enjoyed time spent with relatives and friends. A devoted husband, son, brother, and friend, Mike was a gift to all who knew him. Though our days with him were far too few, each moment we shared with him will prove a treasured memory for all the coming days.
1969 was a year of innovation and excitement, but nowhere was there more excitement than in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as Frank Paul and Pamela Bouwens (Mosher) welcomed their son Michael to their family on June 26.
An only son and middle child, Mike enjoyed the good company of his older sister, Michelle, and younger sister, Valerie. He lived on the NE side of Grand Rapids through most of his childhood and was a pretty happy-go-lucky kid. While in school, he did well in the classroom and socially. As he grew older, he found more opportunities for mischief.
The family enjoyed annual trips to a rented cabin in the Upper Peninsula and Cedar Point every summer. Mike loved everything fast, and the roller coasters were no exception. They also took many other trips, allowing him to experience much of the country. A regular hobby for the family was going to Berlin Raceway in Marne to watch the races. This was always a special time for Mike and his dad. Possessing a naturally gifted mind for mechanics, Mike was drawn to racing and working on cars. His longtime friend, Fred Brinker, became a race car driver and Mike had the opportunity to help build and work on his car, and his love for NASCAR took root at a very early age.
Mike attended Kent Skills Technical Center, where he learned the electrical trade After graduating from Northview High School in 1987, he began his first job at Feyen-Zylstra Electric, kickstarting his love of working with his hands. He later worked at Voice Data Systems, where he moved from being an Electrician to a Voice Data Specialist. Because of his voice data expertise, he moved to Highwire Networks, where he worked on some of the largest phone system projects in the country. During this time, he had a new house near Sand Lake, Michigan, that he stayed busy as he completed the construction of it, learning as he went. A perfectionist, he tended to everything with a keen sense of quality and meticulous organization.
While working for Highwire Networks, he was sent to work a job at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. There, he met his future wife, Jennifer. He would later joke that he went there to "fix her circuits." After he started working at the Social Security Administration as an Information Technology Specialist in 2010, he and Jennifer moved to Catonsville, Maryland. His boss, Don Walsh, described Mike as brilliant and able to solve any problem.
He and Jennifer created a wonderful life in a home they adored. He built a beautiful gazebo and transformed their backyard into a quiet sanctuary. After the floods of 2018, when their front yard was washed away, Mike worked with his good friend Chris Eby to build a large retaining wall with beautiful landscaping. He was so proud of their home. Mike loved animals. He cared for feral cats, building them shelters and ensuring they had nice comfortable lives. He and Jennifer even took in twin feral kittens Smokey and Bandit, whom they loved so much. On weekends, he continued to love to watch NASCAR, and frequently flipped channels to keep up on the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens football games. He would often banter with Bob (step-dad) as they kept up on scores together.He loved his mom and grandma’s home cooked meals, from Mom’s Goulash and Pot Roast to his Grandma Paul’s Spaghetti. Mike never missed a home cooked meal.
Though Mike enjoyed the simple things in life, like spending time with loved ones and working on projects. But he also had his struggles. Fortunately, he never faced any challenge alone; he was always lovingly and compassionately supported by family and friends who easily saw the thoughtful, helpful, and talented person he was. During his final days, he enjoyed the company of his family and the gift of spending Thanksgiving with them.
Clearly, life feels less certain in the absence of Mike's steadfast companionship. May we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying his legacy of curiosity, commitment, and generosity forward. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.
Mike was predeceased by his grandparents, Frank Paul Sr. and Mary Paul, Bruce Mosher and Shirley Theis, and his stepfather, John Ellis. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Paul, stepson, Jake Wetzel, mother and stepfather, Pamela and Bob Bouwens, father and stepmother, Frank and Julie Paul, sister, Michelle DePinto (Greg), niece, Alexandra DePinto, nephew, Jake DePinto, sister, Valerie Weiss, nephews, Zachary and Nicholas Weiss, brother, Daniel Paul (Jessica), nephew, Logan, brother, Gregory Paul, his godmother, Marianne and Randy Reisberg, and stepbrothers, Gary Bouwens (Brenda), Dennis Bouwens (Pam), and Steve Bouwens (Michelle), along with several other nieces and nephews. Throughout his life he had many special friends; more recently, he loved spending time with Chris and Karen Eby and Jim and Karen Miller.
Friends are invited to visit with Mike's family in Michigan on Friday, December 16 from 4-6 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan. A time of sharing memories will begin at 6 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Hospice Foundation of America, which took such good care of Mike. (A later service will be announced for a Catonsville gathering.)