Michael James Olshove was 94 years young in Gateway, Colorado when he passed away on May 6, 2023 from an ATV accident while readying the cooperative shared irrigation with farmer & rancher friends. He lived life his way, keeping fit and strong to enjoy the best of a long life. He loved his little piece of paradise. If an unusual tool fit was needed, he would invent & build it. He could make any mechanical / electrical thing work, especially the oldest tractor ever seen.
He was born in Detroit, Michigan as the oldest son of a sailor-industrial worker but the family soon moved to manage a dairy farm in Harbor Beach, MI where his siblings, GloAnne, Jerry & Donald were born. Through childhood, his best friend was his cousin David and his beloved dog, Rover. He also helped his dad work the cows, deliver milk, and walk the 2 miles uphill in
the Michigan snow to school. When Michael was 13, the family moved to Denver, Colorado, for the climate, living in the Park Hill area.
As a teenager, he won a dancing contest and finished high school at Loretto. While in college, he met Leota Loretta Gowen at a Circle 4 Square Dance. She attended Business School & worked as the Executive Secretary of the CEO of Continental Airlines. They also performed Folk Dance for the Steele Center in Denver & outlying towns. With similar backgrounds and long talks about matching goals they were engaged and soon after he was drafted into the United States Army. Serving in Korea, he earned his medals: National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with Bronze Star Attachment, Combat Infantryman Badge, 1st Award, and the United Nations Service Medal. The bronze star was for retrieving mortar sites above and beyond the call of duty. He was in top form during the Battle of Bloody Ridge. The UN instituted R&R in 1951 for the 1st time and his was enjoyed in Okinawa, Japan.
After his service, he married Leota and apprenticed as a plumber in Denver. He worked with his father, also a plumber, who moved to Glenwood Springs, CO to buy another plumber’s business while Michael earned his Master license in Denver. He & Leota lived in their 1st little apartment there, being very happy and their 1st son, Mickey, was born. Later, they also moved to Glenwood Springs to Sopris Avenue, remodeling the little house as their three daughters were born.
Eventually, they bought the business, Mikes Plumbing, Heating, Appliances and his wife, Leota, was the bookkeeper & salesperson. They moved to Grand Ave in a combo office-home to be able to raise their kids. He helped make the winter ice skating rink in the baseball diamond each year with other fathers and did school projects with the girls. In the 60s, he hired another plumber, Scott, while he built a large shop in the back then concentrated on a second business, Polaris Sales & Service, which he enjoyed immensely. This led to community service with Snow Search & Rescue.
He also loved building homemade “tote goats” (a mechanical goat that could climb a mountain),
re built a Jeep with a domed top, & bought his 1st Jaguar coupe. He was an avid outdoorsman, earning a number of shooting awards, hunting and fishing to feed his family, grown bigger with 2 boys. They co-owned a rustic cabin on Cottonwood Pass with many enjoyable family & friends’ winter trips of snowshoe, ice fishing and snowmobiling. Everyone learned to cook & dry mittens on the huge wood burning stove!
In 1975, they began looking for their dream property, finding it in Gateway, CO where they moved in 1979. The 1st few years were fairly primitive homesteading in what Leota laughingly called “Advanced Camping”. They all cleared land, improved the old fruit orchards, & became involved with the Gateway community as their boys grew up with many pets. The Annual Turkey Shoot, Haunted Forest, & church Youth group kept them busy.
Michael was preceded in death by his wife, Leota in 1986 from cancer, his daughter Virginia in 2010, and son Mickey in 2019.
He is survived by his long lived siblings--Gloria, Jerry & Don; his four children-- Christene
(David), Diane (Michael & daughter Tawny), James (son Michael), Alex (Kelly & daughter
Nicole); and grand daughter, Leann.
Michael’s long time best friend & dance partner, Meli, helped each other live better over the last
20 years. Together, they discovered the Loma Del Mar, San Carlos Trailer Club in Mexico & the fine folks there, especially Dave Heinzl and the 4W ATV Club, whom made those years full of friends & fun. Michael laughingly called himself, “the Leader of the Geriatric Motorcycle Gang”.
He loved the real Mexican food of many local restaurants & loved to show it off to family &
friends. He had just returned in April to “work his land” for his kids, which made him so happy, when the accident happened.
Donations may be made to Gateway Community Center in lieu of flowers.