To pay a proper tribute to Mike, it would take a book as thick as a JC Penney's catalog. But, hopefully in the brief few words that I have, I can express to you the type of person he really was. Mike was one of the most honest, caring, and loving individuals anyone could ever meet. Not only these qualities were set forth for his family, but he had the same rich feelings for his friends.
Mike had so many enduring qualities that it's hard to name just one that stands out the most. He had true respect for the man that he called "Boss". Mike went to work for Elvis on good terms and left on good terms and never looked back. He always remained close to Elvis, as Elvis saw the same things in Mike as we who knew him did.
In all of the years I knew this man, I very seldom ever heard him turn a bad word against anybody. I never heard one bad recollection come from Mike regarding his time with Elvis. Mike was always happy to talk of the wonderful things concerning Elvis, and there was never any negativity spoken from his mouth about Elvis.
Mike was a true craftsman in every sense of the word. The items he made within his lifetime represent his endurance to strive for only the highest quality in everything he made, whether it would be one of the many saddles that he made, down to the necklaces made from barn nails. I personally have a few pieces that Mike made for me and I will always cherish them throughout my lifetime.
Mike and I had always corresponded with each other on a regular basis. You could be sure that when times were bad, Mike would always be there with words of support and insight.
Kim and I had strongly considered giving up on our costuming business in 1984. After dealing with some difficult customers, I simply did not feel it was worth the effort. I spoke with Mike, and he told me that "In life, God blesses those who seek a way to better themselves". It was Mike who talked us into staying in the costume business. He joyfully explained "No one turns out as great a quality of costumes as you and Kim do, and never will". He insisted we stay in it and follow our dreams.
Mike had insight that the whole Elvis phenomenon would only grow. He said "Butch, you won't believe what this Elvis world will become one day soon." He was a true visionary.
He loved this country, and after speaking with him numerous times one could well know that he was very patriotic and very, very passionate about his beliefs in country and state.
When times were difficult it always seemed that Mike was there. Thru thick and thin if he said you were his friend, he truly meant it.
During a period of time when Kim was having a lot of problems with her epilepsy, Mike was one of the friends who called weekly to chat with her to see how she was doing. Mike was a great man, a great husband, and a great father. What a wonderful friend he was to us all who knew him and loved him.
Kim, Michael and I will always miss and love this dear man. We will always treasure the friendship we shared with him, as well as the love and respect that we have for his wonderful wife Barbara and son.