Michael J. Maher, age 79, died on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at the Gundersen Health System Hospital in La Crosse, WI.
Michael was born November 24, 1942, to Glen L. Maher and Evelyn (Biederman) Maher in Mondovi, WI. He grew up in La Crosse, WI, and graduated from Holy Cross Seminary High School and College. He received his Master’s Degree and Doctorate Degree in Philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh PA.
He taught Philosophy at St. Mary’ s University in Winona, MN, from 1979 to 1983. He worked for Semcac, Inc., from 1984 to 1987, and operated youth Employment and Training Programs touching the lives of nearly 10,000 young people. He was the first Grant Manager for the Southeastern Minnesota Initiative Fund. In 1988, he became a licensed Nursing Home Administrator and served as the Executive Director of Whitewater Healthcare Center in St. Charles, MN, from 1988 to 2001, winning many quality care awards. He became the Executive Director of Bear Creek Care and Rehabilitation Center in Rochester from 2001 to 2002, when it was sold to an out of state company. In 2003, he became the Chief Executive Officer of Tweenten Lutheran Healthcare Center in Spring Grove, MN, and Harmony Community Healthcare in Harmony, MN, and Heritage Grove assisted living facility also in Harmony. The Spring Grove facility received a five-star award from Medicare for quality which is the highest award they give.
Michael enjoyed winter vacations in the warm sunshine and summer camping. He enjoyed cross-country and downhill skiing in the winter, as well as archery and bowhunting, golf, kayaking, fishing, motor cycling and wood carving. He completed Grandma’s Marathon in 1985 as well as several other 1/2 marathons. Injuries forced him to switch to biking which he enjoyed to the end of his life.
Michael volunteered at the Winona Friendship Center, serving as the president of the Activity Council and leader of the carving club and biker club; served as a hospice volunteer, volunteered at the MN Marine Art Museum, Winona Warming Center for the homeless, Winona Volunteer Services and as an instructor for the Winona Archers Youth archery league.
Michael is survived by his son, Michael (Shelly) Maher, and granddaughter, Sophie, Denver, CO; daughter, Kate Brenner and husband Axel Nebel, and three grandsons: Oliver, Bennett and Christopher Nebel, Ravensburg, Germany; and daughter, Becky Maher, Rochester, MN; step-sons: Kevin (Paula) Sonsalla, Bloomington, MN; and Kim (Kari Anderson), Eau Claire, WI; brothers: Tim Maher, DeLand, FL; Dave (Mary Jo) Maher, South Carolina; and Don (Geri) Fort, Dodge, IA; and a sister: Pat Vandervelde.
Visitation will be held from 10:30 AM until services at 11 AM on Monday, February 21, 2022, at the Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home, 376 East Sarnia St., Winona. Pastor Kathy Redig will officiate. The family respectfully asks those attending to please wear a mask. A community memorial service is being planned for later in the spring of 2022. Michael will be laid to rest in the St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Arcadia, WI.
Online condolences or memories may be left for Michael’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com.
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