Where’s the guestbook? Guestbook?! If you knew Mike Radimak at all, you know what a silly question that is.
There was no guestbook at Mike’s funeral service on Sunday afternoon. Instead, guests signed their names in sharpie on one of his many T-shirts. Mike loved his T-shirts (sans sleeves, of course; he always cut them off right away!). In fact, suggested attire at this gathering was jeans and t-shirts with—you guessed it—cut-off sleeves. His family came wearing some of Mike’s old t-shirts and other funeral goers were invited to pick a favorite shirt of Mike’s from a stack on the table, wear it during the service and take it home as a reminder of their friend.
After Mike’s death, his family and friends weren’t sure what to do for a funeral service. Should they even have one? See, Mike wasn’t the easiest man to connect with—he could be so stubborn! Unique is one word to describe him, and even his family members struggled through the years to figure him out. No funeral the family had attended before seemed fitting for an occasion such as this, for a guy like Mike.
But Mike’s funeral didn’t have to be “just like any other service.” It could be anything they wanted it to be—unique (and loud!), just like Mike.
As guests were seated, “A Horse with No Name” by America blasted through the speakers. Mike liked his music one way and one way only—loud! He was a classic rock junkie. He owned several acoustic and electric guitars; he used to play in a band and he still loved jamming with his friends later in life. Some of Mike’s vinyls from his massive record collection were on display at the service—Iron Maiden, Stray Cats, Queen—along with a Vitale’s pizza box (his favorite food), playing cards, guitars and a softball (his favorite pastimes) and some other unusual keepsakes (like an alien scull!).
Family and friends shared some memories of Mike—some were planned and others were spontaneous. “I learned a lot about my dad today,” said Mike’s daughter Melissa. She found out that he had people in his life that he could count on, bringing her some comfort.
The Kent County Veteran's Honor Guard, as well as two members of the U.S. Army, performed the three-volley salute, played “Taps” and presented the American flag to Melissa. Although Mike didn’t really enjoy his time in the Army, Mike was always proud of his country and his flag. Following the Military Honors, it was time to blast the rock music once again to “In My Life” by the Beatles, one of Mike’s all-time favorite bands.
For the final goodbye? Just as Mike would have done, a can of Budweiser was cracked open—most definitely the King of Beers in Mike’s opinion—as all the guests acknowledged their dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, nephew and friend.
“Mike, this Bud’s for you.”
To read more about Mike's life, visit his memory page at lifestorynet.com