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In Memory

Michael Johnson

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03/01/19 05:33 PM #1    

Becky Polick (Thomas)

Mike, or Michael, as he liked to be called after our high school years, transitioned from this life on March 16, 2017.  After high school, Michael went to the University of New Mexico and played basketball there.  He returned to Tucson after college and became an amazing Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist focusing on fitness for people 50+.  He was fit and active and on most days logged in 20,000 steps a day on his Fitbit.  Michael and I reconnected at our 35 year high school reunion back in 2014.  We both had the biggest crushes on each other in high school, but we never dated.  We would talk for hours after school and Michael was trying to teach me how to play basketball.  Michael asked me to our Junior Prom and I was so happy to say Yes!  But it was the 1970s and my parents would not let me go because I was white and he was black.  Michael and I lost touch after high school, but I never forgot about him.  When we reconnected at our 35 year reunion, we had not spoken or seen each other in all those years.  I knew he was a great guy when he was 15 years old, but I wondered what had 35 years done to him?  Well, he was exactly the same kind, gentle, funny, tall, handsome, strong, wonderful guy that he was when he was in high school.  We were practically inseparable after the 35 year reunion.  During those 35 years, I had married and divorced 3 times and had two children and Michael had never married and had no children.  We were a match made in heaven and we were truly the love of each other's life and we finally got to be together.  Michael and I enjoyed two and a half amazing years together and we were talking about moving in together.  We were unaware that Michael had coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  You can have this condition and have very few symptoms and he was so active and strong and appeared to be healthy.  He suffered from what is known as "the widow maker" or a complete blockage of the left anterior descending artery in the heart.  He had been having some upper back and shoulder pain, trouble getting full breaths and he had been very tired the week before he passed, but we chalked it up to maybe straining his upper back at the gym, that he didn't have his full lung capacity after getting over a cold and being a little "too active".  Michael went to sleep on March 15, 2017 and didn't wake up on March 16, 2017.  If I can find a silver lining, it's that he did not suffer a terrible or prolonged death and that he was very happy, he knew that he was loved and he truly felt that he had a complete and wonderful life.  Michael was a man of extraordinary character, integrity, vision and strength.  He had outer strength but he also had inner strength.  He had the courage to do things that most people only scratch the surface of during their life.  Michael had a great sense of fairness and he was well aware of the inequities in life.  He gave voice to these important things and stood up for what he thought was right.  He was a very genuine and honest man and would tell you exactly how he felt.  He followed his passion and pursued his dream of being an entrepreneur and became a personal trainer and fitness coach.  He always wanted and encouraged people to be better, be fit, be strong, don't give up, keep trying, be honest, say how you feel and be true to yourself.  He embodied fortitude, resilience, hope, confidence, and self-reflection.      


03/02/19 08:02 AM #2    

Lisa Jones (Nielsen)

Becky-Thank you for posting your love story between you and Michael. I first met Michael at Vail Jr High when I noticed he was the new guy that moved across the street from me. We were both introverts and became casual “hello” friends through High School. I admired him from afar and have thought of him every now and then as I visited my parents in Tucson every so often. I was saddened to hear of his passing earlier this year. I appreciate you sharing his story of his sudden death and the unknown illness he had. My heart breaks knowing that he finally found love with you and he was taken away so quickly. I pray that your heart is healing and your memories keep a smile on your face.

-Lisa G Nielsen (Jones)




03/02/19 08:33 AM #3    

Janet Alexander (Davis)



Your story about Michael is beautiful.  I remember when you told it to us at Bianca's house, and I was so touched by it.  I was also in awe of your strength and composure after such a tremendous loss.  I have shared your story with many in my life, as I am so inspired by it.  I believe you and Michael will always be together, and am so happy that after all of those years you guys were able to share time with one another.  

Janet (Alexander) Davis

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