MISSOULA ~ Michael Thomas “Mike” Pahl was born March 5, 1954 in Great Falls, Mt. to Arthur and Patricia Pahl. Mike joined the growing family with older sister Cathy (Stebbins) and older brother Arthur, JR. (Artie). Younger brother Kelley came along a few years later.
Mike spent his early years in Great Falls sampling some of the local grade schools. He established a number of friendships during his academic career. Some of those grade school friendships survive through to today – (Guy, Vince, Frank, Mike K, Dennis and Danny). Mike’s ability to establish friendships and his genuine caring for others was one of his most unique / special qualities. Combine this with Mike’s quick sense of humor, at times biting wit and his genuine love of people you have the essence of Mike’s uniqueness. These traits served him well through the remainder of his years and became a recurring theme throughout his life. Mike finished up his schooling career in 1972 at Great Falls High School.
After High School Mike moved to Missoula, Mt. and began his career in the restaurant industry. Mike worked at several of Missoula’s well-known establishments: The Mansion, The Clark Fork Station, Spaghetti Station. He relocated to Billings and The Rex for a short period. (Truthfully, the move to Billings might have been more about a young woman he had met in Missoula than the work.) After things didn’t work out as planned in Billings Mike moved back to Missoula.
In those years Mike was never one to shy away from raising a glass or partying. Mike pursued the partying a little too aggressively and eventually turned to AA for help. Mike took his commitment to AA very seriously. Mike believed his sobriety was truly one of his most difficult and rewarding accomplishments. He became a sponsor for many in the program. He approached his involvement with deep caring, devotion and often some tough love.
After spending some summers driving the yellow buses in Yellowstone Park he moved on to a home with Beach transportation in Missoula. Over the next 20+ years Mike would deliver Missoula and the University of Montana students (visiting schools as well) to schooling and sporting events. The kids “my little darlings” loved Mike and he loved them. Mike formed special bonds with many of the students. He seemed to be like their favorite Uncle.
Mike became a little road weary and in 2019 decided to cut back to just driving for sporting events. Beach lost the University contract in 2020 and Mike decided it was time to hang up his keys. Mike’s niece Nellie, in a FB post, noted Mike’s modest lifestyle, riding his bike everywhere and his decision to give his COVID stimulus checks from the Government to charity.
It sometimes seems our greatest asset can be our greatest challenge. For Mike his genuine love and caring for people was really challenged by the isolation of COVID and the divisiveness evident in our world today.
WE WILL MISS YOU BROTHER!
Mike was preceded in death by family members: father, Arthur; mother Patricia; brother Artie and nephews Joey Pahl and Kelley Pahl, Jr.
Survivors include his step father Robert Starkweather, sister Cathy (Dave) Stebbins; niece Nellie (Adam) Baumann; niece Jessa (Curt) Schmeling; sister-in law Toni Pahl; niece Abigail (Matt) Sherman, nephew Peter Pahl; brother Kelley (Megan), and his children Kyler, Olivia and Noah Pahl; and several great nieces and nephews.
His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, January 7, 2021 at Sunset Memorial Funeral Home in Missoula.
Arrangements are under the care of Sunset Memorial Funeral Home in Missoula.