Mike Willett of Stockbridge, loving husband, father, brother, son, friend and employee passed away peacefully in his sleep with his wife at his side at 2 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2022 at ThedaCare Appleton Regional Hospital.
Courageously, Mike worked hard to stay here with his family. Having been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in Oct. 2020, Mike lived much longer than the average, which if you knew him wasn’t a surprise. He was one tough and determined guy.
Michael John Willett was born Dec. 20, 1964 to parents Carl “Moose” and Mary (Lake) Willett of Fond du Lac.
He met Sarah Jones in 1992 in Appleton, and four months later they were engaged and married Oct. 16, 1993. They moved to Stockbridge where they built their home and life, having two sons and many friends.
Mike loved life and the people in it. He enjoyed get-togethers for cards or cribbage. He was a friend to anyone who met him, always smiling. Most of all, he lived for his family. He was a tireless father and husband, actively involved in his children’s activities.
When asked toward the end what he most loved about his life he said, “The people. The people in my life.” He was also quoted as saying, “I had a great life, and I’ll miss you all.”
For 11 years, he was the local Stockbridge Cub master in Stockbridge, working with young cub scouts and organizing many activities from camps to fishing to food drives. He also served as the Stockbridge School Sports Booster Club president for many years. He enjoyed sports, especially basketball, the love of which he instilled in his two sons.
Mike stayed busy and enjoyed many hobbies over the years such as catfish fishing, boating and water skiing, working out, gun and bow hunting, snowmobiling, traveling, watching his kids sporting events and campfires with friends and family at the cottage in Lake Tomahawk.
Mike also loved Florida and their frequent trips to Sarasota was something he always looked forward to. He was able to travel there recently for his 29th wedding anniversary. He also loved road trips and vacations. He was an expert planner squeezing in every possible activity.
He could also be found at his home in Stockbridge, just sitting out at the end of the pier watching the sunset. In many ways he was a simple guy, and the simple things in life were the things he loved the most. He knew how to take time to really enjoy life.
Mike was a chemical engineer and for over 30 years was an employee of Neenah Paper (now Mativ) in Neenah as the strategic outsourcing manager. He helped create many packaging items for high-end products throughout his career. His career took him away at times, traveling internationally and domestically, all of which he seemed to enjoy. He truly loved his job and never missed work during all his treatments. Even toward the end, he was asking for his computer. He had an amazing work ethic and passion for his career.
Mike is survived by his wife, Sarah; two sons: Jacob (20) of Madison and Benjamin (15) of Stockbridge. He is further survived by his mother, Mary Willett of Lake Tomahawk; brother, Tim Willett (Lori) of Lake Tomahawk; sisters, Kathrine Willett Leifer (Greg) of Fond du lac and Mary Beth Schmitz (Dave) of Suamico; and brother-in-law, Edwin Jones (Kelly) of Green Lake. He is also survived by many wonderful nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held locally only for immediate family. A Celebration of Life event will take place later in the new year.
Mike wished to be cremated and laid to rest at St. Charles Cemetery in Fond du Lac where his father rests as well as many of his relatives.
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