RICHLAND CENTER - Michael O'Leary, 67, of Richland Center, died Friday, June 23, 2017 as the result of a motorcycle accident. He was born on Oct. 23, 1949, the son of Joseph and Marjorie (Birno) O'Leary. Mike grew up in Plain, Wis., where he and his friends roamed the hills, getting into mischief and counting on local cops to give him a pass because he was "Dr. O'Leary's son." Mike graduated from River Valley high school in 1967. After graduation, he joined the United States Air Force, and was stationed in Italy and Misawa, Japan during the Vietnam War. He loved regaling friends and family with stories of his time there, and developed friendships that lasted his entire life.
Upon his honorable discharge, he attended UW-Richland, where he met his future wife, Anne, and went on to attend UW-Madison, where he received a degree in soil science and agronomy. Anne and Mike married in 1975, and returned to Richland Center in 1979, where he worked as an agronomist for Cenex Land O'Lakes for over 30 years. During that time, they had two children, and Mike was an active member of the community, serving on the Knights of Columbus, the Neighborhood Housing Services board, and the Richland Center School Board, among many other endeavors.
In 2008, Mike helped his daughter Michelle realize her dream and the two of them opened Serenity House, an adult family home. He also took his love of biking indoors and became a certified spinning instructor at Stairway to Wellness. His dry sense of humor and willingness to lend a hand to anyone afforded him many friends. He could frequently be found at the Symons Recreation Center, having deep conversations in the whirlpool, biking the hills of Richland Center with anyone who would join, or kayaking the Pine River. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, and will be deeply missed by so many.
Michael is survived by his wife, Anne (Collins) O'Leary; his two daughters, Michelle (Jesse) Peckham and Emily (Kristine) O'Leary; grandchildren, Gabrielle and Benjamin; brother, Joseph (Sheila) O'Leary; brother-in-law, Myron (Joan) Berry; special friend, Jan Gifford; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Michael was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Bruce O'Leary; and his sister, Patricia Berry.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, July 1, 2017, at the GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH at 2 p.m. Military Rites will be provided by the Local Veterans Military Memorial Honors Unit. Friends may call on Saturday, July 1, 2017, from 1 p.m. until the time of service at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Mike's name can be made to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. The Pratt Funeral and Cremation Service is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences can be made at prattfuneralservice.com.