Mike's Story

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Mike Semrau died on March 24, 2017 of lung complications at his home in Traverse City. Mr. Semrau was 77 years old.
As a young man Mr. Semrau enlisted in the military and attended Western Michigan University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in business. He went on to study at Wayne State University, receiving his master's degree in industrial psychology.
Mr. Semrau was married to his wife, Izzy, for 53 years.
He had a long and successful career as an executive working for several well-known corporations, including The Ford Motor Company, Rockwell International and Upjohn Pharmaceuticals. Moving to Atlanta in 1982, he worked for the Coca-Cola Company as a vice president of international labor relations, negotiating and solving some of the company's most intractable and dangerous labor disputes in 90 countries.
With former Secretary of Labor, Elizabeth Dole, Mr. Semrau developed a program in Poland to teach workers skilled trades, enlisting the support of United States labor unions. In South Africa he advocated for programs that empowered women to earn money producing handcrafted products.
Mike was an involved community activist for civil rights and member of many non-profit and arts organizations. As a founding member of the Piedmont Park Conservancy in Atlanta, he created the vision for what is today a world-class green space and heartbeat of Midtown Atlanta.
Mr. Semrau enjoyed working and playing with great vigor and enthusiasm and will be remembered for his love of travel and a champion of the people and places that he knew.
Suffering from ongoing pulmonary issues, Mr. Semrau underwent surgery for a successful double lung transplant at Emory University. He lived an active life for six years.
Mr. Semrau is survived by his wife, Isobelle; his sons, Todd and Scott Semrau; his daughters-in-law, Michelle and Cynthia Semrau; and five grandchildren, Espe, McKenzie, Manon, Walt and Maximilian. Two sisters, Carol Eikoff and Cynthia Malcolm, also survive him.
Mr. Semrau will be cremated and a celebration of his life will be announced.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Safe Harbor in Traverse City, Suite B, 3054 Cass Road, Traverse City, MI 49684.
Please visit www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com to share your memories and condolences with Mike's family.
The family is being cared for by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on March 29, 2017
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