Michael J. VanDemark, 84, beloved husband of 56 years to Georgia Meunier VanDemark, died peacefully on July 29th, 2020. Born in Minneapolis and raised in Owatonna, MN, he was the son of the late Bernard Francis VanDemark and Margaret Hart VanDemark. Mike resided with his family in Avon, CT, for the past 36 years.
Mike attended Owatonna High School, where he excelled in everything he undertook. At OHS, Mike was in the National Honor Society, the National Athletic Scholarship Society, and was a Rotarian. OHS nurtured Mike's love of music, where he sang with the Chorus and Christmas Carolers and performed in several stage productions including, his favorite; Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. Mike was a talented and well-rounded athlete and earned letters in football, basketball, and baseball. But of these, baseball was his passion, and he and his friends also played for the local town ball club, the Owatonna Aces, coached by well-known players like Biff Barrett and Jim Pofahl.
Following his graduation from OHS in 1954, Mike set off for the University of Notre Dame. Here, he joined ROTC, and following graduation in 1958 with a Masters of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Mike spent two years as an officer in the US Navy. Mike had the good fortune to explore ports in the Far East during peacetime, which he regarded as an extraordinary experience. Mike continued his service over the next four years in the Navy Reserve and resigned his commission in 1964 as LTJG.
In 1960 Mike entered the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. The following year, armed with his newly minted Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering, he accepted an offer from Price Waterhouse to join their Management Consulting group out of the Chicago office. This event launched a successful 33-year career with the firm, highlighted by admission to the Partnership in 1973, a move to the East Coast, where he was the Managing Partner of the Northeast MCS Group out of Boston, and ultimately a final move to CT as the Managing Partner of the Hartford MCS office, where he retired in 1994. Mike’s distinguished tenure at PW inspired both his daughter and son to follow in his footsteps and pursue careers in Management Consulting. The bond created by a shared passion for the field is something they each treasured.
Mike was a voracious reader and a real history buff. His great interest in World War II was augmented over many years by many conversations with his uncle, Tom Hart, whose distinguished service as a forward artillery observer on Okinawa earned a Bronze Star. Mike's early appreciation of music continued to grow throughout adulthood and was a consistent theme in the VanDemark household. There was always a classical piece playing in the background, and gatherings often involved rousing sessions of singing around the piano. Mike’s love of sport continued throughout his adult life in the form of golf, a passion he shared with his wife, Georgia. Together, they played most of the top 100 golf courses in the United States and spent most of their free time golfing and socializing with longtime friends at Hop Meadow Country Club in Simsbury, CT.
Mike's stolid work ethic, intellectual curiosity, love of history, culture, music, and sport all had a tremendous positive impact on those around him. He was incredibly generous and went to great lengths to guide and support friends and family in need. Recipients of Mike's sound advice will treasure his wisdom for years to come. He was a wonderful Husband, an incredible role model as a Father, and a patient and loving Grandfather. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
Mike is survived by his wife Georgia, his children (and their spouses): Beth Sebby (Dean Sebby) of Chester Springs, PA, and Michael W. VanDemark (Jen VanDemark) of Amawalk, NY, as well as his four beloved grandchildren, Michael, Emily, Meghan, and Molly. He is also survived by his loving siblings Bea, Thomas, Sarah, and James.
Due to the Pandemic and current travel restrictions, a Memorial Service will be held at a date to be determined. The Vincent Funeral Home of Simsbury is caring for the arrangements. Please visit Mike’s “Book of Memories” at www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online tributes.