Service Date: 06/29/2017 at 2:00 PM
Cemetery:Home of Peace Cemetery
Funeral Service with Navy Flag Presentation and Taps will be held on Thursday, June 29th at 2 pm, at the Home of Peace Cemetery, 5421 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood WA 98499.
Our beloved Michael has passed away at the age of 74. He was born in Macon, Georgia to Milton and Betty Doctor. After spending most of his childhood in Asheville, NC, where he excelled on the swim team at Lee Edwards High School and as summer waterfront director at Camp Osceola during the summer. Following graduation in 1964 from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill he shipped out to Vietnam as an officer in the United States Navy. After two years stationed in Japan, Michael then served three tours of duty in Vietnam, serving his country bravely and with honor. He was a proud member of the Naval Intelligence community, and won multiple commendations. When he returned to the U.S. he was stationed at the Pentagon and then at the Naval center NOSIC in Washington, D.C., ultimately retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. On a blind date, Michael met Jani, the young woman who would become his wife and love of his life. Married at Temple Emanuel in San Francisco, they would have celebrated 43 years together this August.
After his eldest son, Jason, was born, Michael moved his young family to Tacoma in 1977 to attend the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University). It was in Tacoma that his second son, Matthew, was born and the family put down roots. What cursing he did not learn in the Navy, Michael quickly picked up in law school and as a lobbyist. After working briefly for others, he was proud to establish his own public relations firm, MSD Associates, with his focus on helping people with disabilities. For years, Michael worked tirelessly in the belly of the Washington State Legislature, known widely as Ulcer Gulch and on federal legislation in Washington D.C Forever after his retirement in 1997, he retained a passion for political discourse, the legislative process, and the law. His carefully considered opinions and depth of advocacy experience contributed a great deal to the nonprofit boards on which he served, including Temple Beth El, Vadis, the Pierce County Humane Society, and the Home of Peace Cemetery Association.
Michael’s sardonic wit, wry sense of humor, and a warm, easy laugh made him lasting friends with people he met across the globe. That his life was plagued with significant illness following his activities in Vietnam did not diminish his enjoyment of savoring every day. After their boys were grown, he and Jani lived in Mexico for a while, working as communications directors at the Sheraton and assisting tourists visiting Puerto Vallarta. It was one of many travel adventures the pair enjoyed throughout the years. Still, after every trip, Michael was happy to return home, to jump back into his volunteer work, to visit with his children and friends, and, at the end of the day, to read, listen to music or rest in his recliner with a cat on his lap. In his final days, Michael was surrounded by family who love him and who will always miss him dearly.
Michael is survived by his wife, Jani; son, Jason; son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Erica, granddaughter, Carmela, brother and sister-in-law Rick and Lynn, and an amazing group of cousins. He will also be sorely missed by his many dear friends and colleagues. We want to offer a special thank you to the wonderfully compassionate staff of the Seattle VA Hospital where Michael was treated for four different cancers over a 17-year span by medical professionals who showed him true kindness and always provided him with excellent care.
Funeral Service with Navy Flag Presentation and Taps will be held on Thursday, June 29th at 2 pm, at the Home of Peace Cemetery, 5421 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood WA 98499. All also are welcome to join the family afterwards for a reception at Temple Beth El, 5975 S. 12th St, (at Vassault St), Tacoma WA 98465
In lieu of flowers, Michael requested memorial donations be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ( www.lls.org ), Temple Beth El Religious Education fund (www.templebethel18.org ), or Pierce County Humane Society Spay & Neuter Program
Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home