Wednesday, November 17, 2021
2:00 PM EST
Lee Chapel of Sytsema Funeral Home
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.
Wounded Warrior Project
P.O. Box 758516
Topeka, KS 66675-8516
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Mike Lynn didn’t shy away from living life on his own terms. He worked hard, and played just as hard with an unquestionable zest for life. Mike was very handy and mechanically inclined, and he was particular in the things he did and wanted. Ever personable, Mike was the sort who never knew a stranger and could strike up a conversation with anyone. Fast cars, boating on a sunny day, and even meticulously maintaining his lawn, Mike knew what he liked. With the most recent years being some of the most meaningful, he leaves behind a collection of memories that his loved ones will forever remember.
During the first half of the 1940s, America was deeply entrenched in WWII from the time of the vicious attack on our naval base at Pearl Harbor. Countless young servicemen and women were fighting overseas, while those who remained stateside awaited the latest news from the front lines. It was during this eventful time when Howard “Ray” and Evelyn (Williams) Lynn announced the birth of the baby boy, Michael John on January 3, 1944, in Muskegon, Michigan. The youngest of three, he joined his older siblings, Marcia and Dennis in their family home. Even at a young age, Mike was feisty, strong-willed, and able to find his share of mischief. Perhaps this is why he broke both femurs when he was run over by a tractor when he was only five. Although his father was often gone from home working, “Mikey” was and always would be a mama’s boy through and through.
In many ways, Mike was a young boy of his generation. He loved his mother’s cooking, and his favorite memory from his formative years was when he and his siblings each received a new bike for Christmas one year, and his was a shiny, red new Huffy. As a teenager, he began working at Scrib’s Pizza for Ken Lundholm who became one of his longtime friends before going to work at the Peck Street Burger Chef restaurant where he kindled a relationship with the owner’s daughter, Claudia Stiller. When his father found work in Denver, Colorado, the family moved there where Mike went on to graduate from Westminster High School. He then enlisted to serve in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the USS McCain and the USS Enterprise during Vietnam. While in the military, Mike learned the electrical trade which served him well throughout his life. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to Muskegon and eventually married Claudia in 1967, the mother of his five-year-old daughter, Melanie. The family of three moved to Colorado, living in Boulder and Longmont before eventually returning to Muskegon. Their family also grew to include two more children, Angela and Ryan who added much to their lives.
Keeping the Burger Chef franchises in the family, Mike began working for his father-in-law as the general manager of the Burger Chef restaurants while Claudia remained at home looking after their household while also serving as the business bookkeeper and payroll clerk. Later, when Roy Stiller sold the franchise operations, he backed-up his son-in-law Mike into becoming the owner of the four franchise operations where in time he opened a fifth Burger Chef chain. Although he could be fun-loving on the job, it could be said that Mike was pretty strict in the way he ran his businesses. He ran a tight ship where the customer always came first.
Mike’s work was very demanding and monopolized much of his time, which meant he was rarely home. He was very involved in the Muskegon community including with the Kiwanis, Jaycee’s, Elks, sponsoring baseball teams, and the Seaway Festival. Although his marriage to Claudia ended, their love for one another remained. Mike’s success brought a lavish lifestyle, which he thoroughly enjoyed with many friends. He loved his toys including his speed boats, Corvettes, new homes, travel, and getting out on the town dancing. With many changes taking place in his life, and with difficult economic times, his restaurants soon closed. Mike’s entrepreneurial spirit shone bright in the next years of his life. He worked for Apple computers, and through his USA Sign Company, he also sold FWD Transaxels. He was always keeping up on trends, news, and scheming about different business ideas.
Mike remarried for a brief time, welcoming son, Chad into his life. Ready to begin anew, he faced challenging times but was ready to settle down and raise his son the best way he knew how with the help of his mother. As his lifestyle settled, he began to realize the importance of family and took time to invest in his loved ones. Mike always enjoyed the water and loved boating throughout the summer, much of it on his 28-foot Chris Craft. He enjoyed his time with his companion, Jeannie, and their home on Mona Lake. Mike’s love for his canine companions from his earliest years also made his heart glad, including his treasured Jo Jo, Roxi and Piper. In his free time, he enjoyed working on model cars, airplanes and boats, spending time with family, working in the yard, enjoying a good steak and baked potato dinner, and going to the movies where he always enjoyed a Diet Pepsi and popcorn.
To help care for his mother, Mike moved in with her but in time encountered health problems of his own. He moved to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans where he received the care he needed. With his often times big personality, there were rumors there that Mike was even part of the Mafia! Once recovered, Mike was able to return to Muskegon for a few years. He made the most of this time, making up for lost time with his children and grandchildren where his happiness was found surrounded by those he loved. With more time to be with his family, he treasured the moments they shared. He began expressing his regrets, and truly came to value the love of family. Although he didn’t see his grandchildren as often as he wanted, he always thought the world of them.
In 2016, Mike moved to Allendale to live with his daughter where he loved working in the yard, making friends with neighbors, enjoyed his dogs and had better quality of life. He liked online shopping, particularly for gadgets, and he also kept busy with crossword puzzles and games on his tablet. Mike enjoyed watching movies on TV at home, especially military action movies. It was difficult to sit down and watch a movie with him because he already saw them all!
With multiple health issues, Mike began spending more time in the hospital. He recently suffered a fall which broke his back. Requiring surgery, he was at Allendale Nursing and Rehab and planned on moving into an assisted living facility back in Muskegon until contracting Covid 19. With already a multitude of health issues, Mike could no longer fight. It was a blessing for all to be surrounded by such tremendous love in his final moments with his children who never left his side, and with whom he was so proud.
A longtime resident of the Muskegon community, Mike Lynn was the sort of person who could talk to anyone and was much fun to be around. Although he could be stubborn, mischievous and “spoiled” at times, his work ethic and drive to succeed was an inspiration to many. Cherished and always to be remembered is the sweet, compassionate, and loving spirit he so freely gave to others in his last days. He was just as charming, but his love for family was his ultimate gift. Mike made peace with his Lord, family, and most importantly, himself. He is now free and surrounded by those who have gone before him, and was especially welcomed into the arms of his grandson, Zachary. Although he will be deeply missed, Mike's memory will forever be etched in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.
Michael J. Lynn, age 77, of Allendale, formerly of Muskegon, passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 13, 2021. He was born in Muskegon, MI on January 3, 1944, to Howard "Ray" and Evelyn (Williams, Ochs) Lynn who preceded him in death. He loved boating on the open waters of Mona Lake and Lake Michigan and loved his family very much. He is survived by his daughters, Melanie (Al Lemon) Prins of Allendale, Angela (Todd Charlesworth) Moser of Muskegon, and by his sons, Ryan (Amelia Lukas) Lynn of Portland, Oregon and Chad (Sarah) Lynn of Muskegon; his grandchildren, Andrea (Jesse) Bowles, Chelsea Garcia, Mariah Moser, Sienna and Blaike Lynn; six great-grandchildren; his sister, Marcia Sobish and brother, Dennis (Linda) Lynn; many dear nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends. Besides his parents, Mike was preceded in death by his beloved grandson, Zachary Moser; his brother-in-law, Jack Sobish, and by his former wife, Claudia (Stiller) Lynn.
Visitation with Mike's family will take place Wednesday, November 17, 2021, from 1-2 PM at Sytsema Funeral Home-The Lee Chapel on Harvey Street in Muskegon followed by a service at 2:00 PM. Please wear masks. A private family burial will be held at St. Mary's Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions in Mike's memory may be made to The Wounded Warrior Project. His family wishes to thank Allendale Nursing and Rehab and Spectrum Health Butterworth for their care and concern for Mike over the last several months. He has found his peace. Arrangements are being handled by Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, Grand Rapids, MI. To read more about Mike, to share a favorite memory and to sign his online guest book, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.