Michael John Liss – a devoted husband, steadfast father, and twinkly eyed grandpa - passed away on March 17 at age 62. To say we will miss him is the greatest understatement.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 26, 1959 to Daniel and Patricia Liss. He was the oldest of five children and the kind of older brother anyone would be grateful to have: patient and kind, but also the instigator of household, sibling mischief. It was easy to tell the kind of person he was by seeing how he treated people, the way he always kept his word, and by his endless source of patience and punny jokes for anyone he came across.
The Liss family moved to El Paso, Texas when Mike was in his early teens. He met Dawn Belisle through his best friend, Dawn’s older brother, Alan. Mike did not make the best first impression, but eventually his charm and blue eyes won her over. They were high school sweethearts and got married in 1977 when Dawn was 16 and Mike was 18. Dawn and Mike have been inseparable during their 44 wonderful years of marriage. They have experienced many adventures in their life together: in their early years of marriage they played in a co-ed softball league, were members of a bowling league, and hosted many family gatherings and birthdays to bring both sides of the extended family together.
Mike was a loving dad to Amber, his three little angels (Auburn, Aaron, and Cassandra), Nathan, Bryana, Jasmine, Ethan, and Shanelle. He never missed a game, concert, or swim meet, even when it meant going into work early the next day. He spent countless hours listening, problem solving, helping with math homework, and giving out bear hugs and the occasional (not very) stern glance. He loved his children so very much, though there is a chance he relished being a grandpa even more. He was incredibly proud to have so many beautiful grandchildren. At family gatherings he could often be found strolling one baby or another around the house, talking quietly to them while they snuggled in for a nice, long grandpa chat and eventually would fall asleep. Grandpa could hold a baby for hours – and he often did.
Mike will always be known for his loyalty, work ethic, and his meticulousness. He took care of everything from taxes to tree trimming, dotting every I and crossing every T without a single complaint. His children exasperated him by refusing to balance their checkbooks, but he retained unwarranted optimism that one day, we just might!
In 2001, the Liss family moved to Colorado. Mike found a deep sense of home living in the Rocky Mountain West, and many hikes and camping trips ensued. He loved going places as a family, especially Disney World, where he ran circles around everyone, closed down the park, and was raring to go the next morning. He was never burdened by the amount of effort it took to go on a big family adventure – the logistics were part of the fun. Mike also had an insane ability to pack as many things as possible into the smallest of spaces, making him great at both Tetris and road trips. He often joked that “you will do it and you will love it!”
We will miss so much about him – his quiet presence, his mischievous sense of humor, the clomp of his boots that were an essential part of his uniform of hiking boots and an airy button down. But most of all we will miss the way he hugged you with an embrace that enveloped you in genuine warmth and love. The way that he understood each of his children as individuals and loved and cared for us all. His enthusiasm for everything from a road trip to a McDonald’s hot and spicy sandwich. The way he answered the phone, told his favorite joke, or said “I love you” every time he left the house.
He left our lives far too soon and we are heartbroken, but we know that his spirit lives on: with Dawn and the love they shared, with his dedicated and loving children, with his blue-eyed grandsons who look just like him, and all his sweet grandchildren who will hear stories about him always and forever.
Mike is survived by his parents, Daniel and Patricia Liss; his sister Lynn Luna (Steve Luna) his brother Joe, his brother Roger (RoseAnn) his brother Tommy (Mirea); his wife, Dawn; his children Amber Jauregui (Carlos Jauregui), Nathan Liss (Hilary Davis), Bryana Liss (Philip Metzger), Jasmine Gannaway (Rory Gannaway), Ethan Liss (Morgan Cogburn), and Shanelle Liss; and his grandchildren Tyler, Jordan, Greta, Harrison, Piper, Kennedy, Kolby and Kasey.
Mike had a strong and unwavering faith in God, from his baptism into the Catholic church as a baby, to his altar boy years in Chicago, and his regular attendance at Mass every Sunday. We will be celebrating his life on Friday, March 25th at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church with a rosary at 11:30 and a mass at noon with a reception to follow. Mike’s ashes will be interred at Mount Saint Francis Cemetery at 3:30pm.
Our Lady of the Pines is located at 11020 Teachout Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80908.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to organizations that meant a lot to Mike: The American Heart Association, The American Diabetes Association, The Alzheimer’s Association, or The National Park Foundation.
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