Michael J. Gwiazdon
Michael J. Gwiazdon passed away peacefully at home on Nov. 13, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. To know Mike, whether it was for 60 years or as a new acquaintance, was to feel you had a very good friend, and you did. Though his life was accomplished in many areas, Mike’s true priority and greatest joy was in the relationships he shared with the people. Mike had the gift of connecting with and making each and every person he met feel special, known, and appreciated. He spent the final months of his life honing these skills and sharing his loving, generous spirit with friends and family near and far. Mike was a deeply spiritual person and had an unshakable faith that he loved sharing. He attended and found support in Christ Lutheran and St. James Catholic Church.
Mike was born in Minneapolis, the son of Mary and Mike. He grew up with his siblings, Joe, Jane, Tom and Anne. Mike found his way to the Flathead Valley via Glacier Park where he came to work in the summer of 1962. It was at Glacier that he met his first wife Nancy Nei and in 1964 they decided to make Whitefish their home. Mike had two daughters with Nancy, Courtney and Millie. Mike married his wife Linda in 1986. With Linda, he became the stepfather of Koan, and together they had Matt. He was the proud grandfather of five grandkids who truly adored him, Ella, Mia, Bode, Merritt and Roke and special Grampie Unc to Alania.
Being an accomplished skier and an avid golfer, when Mike signed on with the Sportsman & Ski Haus in 1973, he found his lifelong calling. Over the years he established enduring friendships with people in retail across the nation. He rose to president and C.E.O. of the Sportsman, and Tri-State Outfitters in Idaho and Washington when those stores were purchased in 2010. His door was always open to his team and he often offered support and took a personal interest in their lives. Mike welcomed ideas and appreciated the talents of his employees. Mike was truly passionate about his work, and true to form, most passionate about the people, both employees and patrons, that brought that work to life.
The positive impacts Mike had on the Flathead Valley are vast and far-reaching. He volunteered with many organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Whitefish Trails, Whitefish City Council, and many more. Mike was a philanthropist and truly passionate about his community and the people within it. He was always willing to step up and lend a hand, and through his unique ability to effortlessly form friendships and connections wherever he went, he managed to accomplish much. We would be remiss in not mentioning his passion for his morning coffee club at the Buffalo, a daily gathering filled with storytelling and laughter and true friends. He found a passion after retiring in caring for his friends and spent many hours giving comfort and good cheer. He cared deeply and took great joy in those relationships.
For all of his community involvement, Mike was first and foremost a family man. He took incredible pride and joy in his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and their children. Mike will be remembered as a caring and loving friend, father, and adoring grandfather. Mike and Linda loved spending time with their children and grandchildren, whether that be on family trips, visits to their homes, or summer gatherings on Flathead Lake. Every occasion was filled with laughter and love. Mike will always be remembered for his genuine caring personality and his big heart. He was never afraid to show his emotions and to tell you how much you mattered to him. He will live on in the love we share with each other. When asked what mattered most in this world, Mike would answer with unwavering certainty and conviction that love is what matters most.
Memorials in Mike’s honor can be made to Sparrow’s Nest of NW Montana, or the charity of your choice; https://www.sparrowsnestnwmt.org/
A celebration of life will be planned for this summer.