Michael's Story

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Michael Kandel, 28, of Traverse City, born March 7, 1989, his life ended much too soon and he will be missed by all who knew him.
Raised in Leelanau County, he attended Glen Lake School, participated in soccer, baseball, and football. Mike spent a lot of time with friends and cousins who lived life to it's fullest and loved having a whole lot of fun. Mike loved the outdoors and nature so much he chose a career remediating Michigan shoreline and water ways, along with reforestation. He loved growing plants from the time he was a little boy.
As soon as he turned 18 he joined the U.S. Army, completing boot camp at Ft. Bragg. Mike served his Country proudly and bravely for six years of active duty, deployed to Afghanistan for a year in support of Enduring Freedom. Our solider returned home shortly after older brother Kyle, a Marine, followed by his sister Christy returning home from college at Northern Michigan University. We were so happy to be together again.
We lost Mike to a tragic accident in Sturgeon Bay, July 20, 2017. A boat returning the work crew to the starting point in Wilderness State Park had engine problems. The mechanic dove in to retrieve a pull rope that fell into the water. He had difficulty in the high waves and Mike, without thinking of himself, grabbed a life jacket and dove in to rescue his friend. Mike was a strong swimmer and SCUBA certified. He was able to rescue the man, but at some point he suffered a severe head injury and was not able to tread water. The Coast Guard and Sheriff Department were called and rescue boats and helicopters were deployed and worked even through the night on a search and rescue mission. Mike's body was recovered on Friday morning.
He is survived by his loving family. Parents, Edward and Annette (Fitzgerald) Kandel; brother, Kyle and his fiancé Kelly Flynn; sister, Christine, and our practically family member Alex Flees. He is also survived by his grandmothers, Cindy Wilson and Beverly Rosinski; many amazing and loving aunts, uncles, cousins and their families, and an awesome group of friends.
Mike was preceded in death by is grandfathers, Robert J. Fitzgerald, Edward J. Kandel Sr., Henry Wilson; grandmother, Helen Fitzgerald; brother, in spirit Zane Barnes.
We miss you Mike and will always love you.
A visitation for Michael will be held on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Empire, with a visitation beginning at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers please direct memorial contributions to Michael's family, where they will direct contributions to the charity of their choice.
Please share a memory with the family by visiting Michaels tribute page found at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on July 25, 2017
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