Cover photo for Michael Arthur Grant's Obituary
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Michael

Michael Arthur Grant

d. August 28, 2010

58, died on August 28th. His spirit departed on the summit of Mount Townsend, with his wife, daughter, and eight good Samaritan hikers at his side. The son of Richard and Marjorie Grant, he was born in Norman, OK and spent his earliest years playing in the red clay of their rural back yard with his younger brothers and sister. Mike was born with a loving soul which was nurtured by gentle and compassionate parents. His love of astronomy and burning curiosity about space were enkindled by frequent star gazing nights with his family.When Mike was 10 the family moved to D.C. where his father joined the Kennedy administration. Mike spent his teen years in the vortex of those idealistic, energetic, and ultimately tumultuous times. His keen, lifelong interest in American history and his passionate belief that government could be a powerful force for good, developed during this time.From childhood, Michael was the quintessential good shepherd to his four younger siblings, assisting and guiding them with great kindness and patience. Not surprisingly, fatherhood came naturally. Friends and family knew they could depend upon Mike, always. He regarded other's needs for support and attention no different from his own, giving so easily, so cheerfully, so lightly.Nonetheless, Mike was fierce and persistent in pursuit of his own goals. Whether it was earning a doctorate in microbiology, dogging research goals in the mire of large bureaucracies, or coaxing fruits and vegetables out of glacial till, Dr. Microbe was indefatigable.When the family moved to Bainbridge Island in 1970, Mike transferred to Seattle University where he relished the Socratic teaching methods of his Jesuit instructors. Torn between majoring in writing or biology, he settled it with the flip of a coin. Though he never lost his passion for the written word, he went on to Iowa State University to pursue advanced degrees in Microbiology. He researched Pseudomonas in the rich soil of Iowa, and during rare free time he met his wife Kerry on the ISU campus. They courted while he finished his doctoral work, and in the summer of 1979 both departed Iowa with marriage certificate and degrees in hand.Postdoctoral work at the University of Georgia on de-nitrification led to a move to California and a job at the NASA Ames lab in the extraterrestrial division, a true thrill to this space-loving scientist. In 1984 Mike returned to the Northwest with Kerry and their one-year-old son, Ben, to be near his beloved family, eventually settling in Tacoma, where he worked at Nalley's as a food microbiologist. Children Noah and Hillary were born, and Mike devoted himself to his young family, weaving security, love and joy into his children's earliest formative experiences.Mike's work led him back to Iowa at Hach Company and then back again to the Northwest where he worked for the Food & Drug Administration until his passing. Mike had a great love of "living" microbiology--in which the actual microbes are observed with the senses versus the more abstract genetic and chemical analysis. He never lost his wonder for observing the infinite expressions of nature on this microscopic level. His research the last several years was devoted to developing more effective methods of food pathogen detection.Mike embraced nature on a bigger scale as well and loved sharing the world with children. He was a scoutmaster for many years, mentoring his son Noah and a number of other boys to their attainment of Eagle Scout. An avid hiker, he always paused to savor the full experience, from the vast sweeping landscape to an orange fungus or a tiny iridescent beetle. Mike's eyes were keen and his heart ever curious and wonder-filled.Nature was Mike's muse, inspiring a collection of poems, The Jade and Bubble Torrent, compiled for family in 2007. To everyone's delight, extemporaneous fireside storytelling was among Mike's gifts, freely shared. The bard of the family, Mike also wrote short stories and completed a full length novel.Mike selflessly loved his family, friends, colleagues and his church community at St. Barnabas, and in turn inspired deep love for him. We can only speculate on how such a beautiful soul came to be, how we could be so fortunate to know him, and how we can adequately express our love for him.Mike is survived by his wife Kerry; his children Ben, Noah and Hillary; his siblings Bruce (Mary), Eric (Deb), Melinda Kennell (John), and Dave (Rachel); nieces and nephews Arthur, Meridith, Tim, Maddie, Jack, Claire, Amanda, Quinn, Audrey, Mitchell, Max, Gabbie, Jocelyn, and Cael; and many beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins. Memorial donations may be made in lieu of flowers to Chief Seattle Council of Boy Scouts, 1900 Austin Dr., Bremerton, WA 98312, or to any organization, elected official or political candidate dedicated to progressive causes or improving the democratic processes in our nation's government. (Mike liked Jay Inslee.)A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 11, at 1 p.m., at St. Barnabas Church, 1187 Wyatt Way NW, Bainbridge Island, followed by an open house potluck at the family home. Feel free to bring poetry, songs and stories to share.

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