Michael "Mike" Chilefone
Michael Glenn Chilefone
Age 80 of Lake Elmo, MN and Mesa, AZ
Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather and Friend
Mike was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 4, 1937 to parents Daniel and Emma Chilefone. The family moved to West St. Paul for his father’s job on the railroad. His father died in a tragic accident on the railroad in 1944 and Mike was taken in by the Heimel family where he worked as a farm hand on the family farm. He ventured out on his own at the age of 18 enlisted in the United States military where he served as a paratrooper. His work for Northern States Power Company as a lineman gave him the skills to work on the side as a very proficient tree trimmer. He also spent time working as a heavy equipment operator for his uncle. His longest career was as a transport driver for the Tastee Bread Company. He drove the southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin route for many years. Although he had a social nature, he enjoyed driving and the solitude of the job. It was in this career he found an appreciation for different varieties of music genres, and in turn broadened the spectrum of the music his children enjoy today."
Upon his return from the military, he met his wife of 55 years, Joan (LaBossiere). After dating for 2 years, Mike proposed to Joan and they were married at St. Pius X Catholic Church on November 18, 1961. They purchased the family home in Lake Elmo in 1965 and raised their seven children together.
His friends and family considered him a jack of all trades as he was very handy with almost any tool or project. Shoshin is a concept in Buddhism meaning "beginner's mind". It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when learning a subject. He was willing to engage in whatever notion was introduced to him. He had the beginner’s mind of a Buddhist in that way.
He had many interests over the years including auto body repair, tinkering with vehicle engines, refinishing antiques, tree trimming and golf. Most remembered by his children was his patience and willingness to drop whatever he was working on, to assist them. He always put his own needs aside to help friends and family with projects.
He saw the unifying value in having a place for family to gather in both the Wisconsin lake place and the Mesa Arizona property. Both places have brought family and friends together making lasting memories.
He enjoyed the later years of his life spending time in Arizona over the winter months avoiding the snowy cold of Minnesota. He loved the simplicity of life in Arizona during the winters, and spoke about his return each year with fondness and enthusiasm. He bonded with a close-knit community of people who became his family away from home and will be missed by them dearly. He was always up for an adventure or road trip if there was a casino at the end of the rainbow. Among his many friends, Carol Herda and her mother Edith lived two doors down from him. They quickly became dear friends and Mike made the commute each day by foot to sit on the sun porch and visit. They enjoyed daily morning coffee, many meals, laughter and stories among the neighbors and friends who would drop in to visit both of them daily, some days they would visit from sunrise to sunset. He enjoyed taking care of the flowers in Carol’s gardens and affectionately called them “his girls” Carol reported yesterday that there are currently 28 beautiful blooms in his honor. His Arizona family; Debbie and Gary Hyde, Joe Yankovec, Jerry Hawkins, Dianna Lutz and Diane Gordon have expressed their gratitude for the memories they shared with him.
Mike passed away in Mesa, AZ on March 25, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Joan Chilefone; his children, Michael Chilefone, Mark Chilefone and partner Robert Albachten, Gary Chilefone and wife Megan Dushin , Teri Chilefone and husband James Coleman, David Chilefone, Lori Chilefone and husband Zeus Stark , Daniel Chilefone and partner Emily Stutsman; Grandchildren, Athena and Sabine Stark, Luca and Clara Chilefone, Enzio, Mario, and Michael Chilefone; sister, Laurie Olschefske along with many family and friends.
There will be a gathering for family and friends from 2-6PM on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Mueller Memorial, 4738 Bald Eagle Avenue, White Bear Lake. He always had a tender spot for the St. Jude’s Children’s commercials; In lieu of flowers, it was Mike’s wish for memorials to go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.