Michael J. Hanley, born in 1950 in Milwaukee, WI, passed away on February 21, 2022. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 50+ years, his daughters, his sisters and brothers, his extended family, dearest friends, and the many people he had come to know.
Per Mike’s wishes, no services will be held. He wants you to spend a few moments listening to the wind in the trees and thinking of the good times you had with him. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to the National Forest Foundation.
For many years, Mike ran his own business side-by-side with his wife. His passion was to design and build high-quality, one-of-a-kind furniture, using hard-to-find wood with unique grain patterns. He was more than a woodworker, he was an artist. And when he couldn’t buy that type of wood, he used his portable saw mill to cut it from a tree himself. He inspired many with this love of fine woodworking by offering classes in his shop. He designed and built every inch of his timber frame home, laboring to build it by hand with the help of family and friends while living on the land with his wife. He later went on to consult others on how to do the same. Additionally, Mike held key positions in information technology, operations and sales.
Mike was inspired by master woodworkers who lived during the Revolutionary War and fought for the freedom that we all enjoy today. He also loved to experience that freedom while riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle on any backroad that had a hill or a curve. Mike was so inspired that he wrote and published a book – Motorcycles, Planes, & Revolution – and toured the country speaking on these topics. His book was recently accepted into the permanent collection of the Library of Congress and can be checked out from the Library’s Main Reading Room in Washington, D.C.
His love of country and the freedom we enjoy inspired him to visit and climb the Statue of Liberty on July 4th, 1986 for the Statue of Liberty’s Centennial. He was in awe of the skilled shipwrights who built the 25+ tall ships that had sailed from all over the world to be in the Parade of Ships past the Statue of Liberty and into New York Harbor. Mike’s love of tall ships and the lighthouses that guided them led him to be a key member of the team of volunteers who helped build the Denis Sullivan, a recreation of a 19th century Great Lakes cargo schooner based in Milwaukee, WI.
Above all, Mike loved his family and closest friends. He cherished spending quality time with the people (and dogs) he loved. He had a profound impact on so many people and he will always be remembered for his sense of humor, love of music, artistry in wood, love of the outdoors, and unwavering love of his family.
Mike’s family wishes to extend a special thank you to the nurses, caretakers and entire staff of Aurora Zilber Hospice in Wauwatosa, WI for the special care provided to Mike and his loved ones.
To donate to the National Forest Foundation in memory of Mike, click here.