The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Michael Wallace Orcutt

 

April 15, 2022

WHITE PINE, Mich. - Michael Wallace Orcutt, 82, of White Pine, passed away on April 5, 2022 at Juliette Manor in Berlin, Wisconsin.

Mike was born in Ashland, Wisconsin, to J.P. and Thelma Orcutt on Sept. 27, 1939, his mother's birthday also being Sept. 27, 24 years prior. In his early years, the family moved a lot with his father's job with the CCC, living in Mission Springs, Wisconsin, Park Falls, Wisconsin, Rochester, Minnesota, and Belleville, Illinois, to name a few. In 1943, he lived in Hayward, Wisconsin, near his grandparents Thomas and Anna McClaine, while his father served in the Pacific theater during World War II with the Red Cross. After his father returned from his service, they left Hayward in 1946, ending up in Ely, Minnesota, then to Glidden, Wisconsin, in 1952. Mitch, as he was known then, developed a deep love for Glidden, graduating in 1957.

After High School at the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard, training to be a radio operator and crew member on a number of different fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. He was a crew member on B-17 Flying Fortresses that were used for the International Ice Patrol at that time, and was stationed in Newfoundland, Canada, for a year and a half. He also was assigned to Coast Guard stations in Elizabeth, New Jersey, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Traverse City. He had many interesting stories of his Coast Guard service, which included several "hard landings." One of those incidences resulted in the gold bridge for his front teeth that was his signature smile for many years.

Also during his time in the Coast Guard he volunteered to try out to be a SCUBA diver, which was relatively new for the Coast Guard at that time, with training received from the Navy. The training included basic underwater demolition, and training that was later used in the diving portion of the BUD/S program that led to the Navy Seals. The course was grueling with a high dropout rate, but he stuck it out and completed the training, an accomplishment he was very proud of, graduating from the U.S. Naval School Underwater Swimmers course in Key West, Florida, on March 20, 1959. He performed duties as a rescue and recovery diver in addition to his aviation duties for the rest of his Coast Guard enlistment, and was involved in a number of sea rescues.

After the Coast Guard, he met Linda Roberts, of Rockland, while visiting his parents at the Ranger Station in Ontonagon. They dated while he attended the Michigan Tech University forestry program in Houghton, and the Sault Ste. Marie branch at Lake Superior State College, and the Ford Forestry Center in Alberta near L'Anse. They were married on July 18, 1964, in Rockland. Their daughter, Mary Lynn, was born while they traveled the eastern seaboard and southern states with his job with Osmose Utilities Services. In 1967, they returned to Ontonagon County, and he started working at the copper mine in White Pine. White Pine became their home where they chose to raise their family. Mike was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department, and the American Legion. He worked underground in the mine for 10 years, starting as a surveyor, and then as a foreman in the mill above ground for many years until the mine closed in 1995. He completed his working years with a job at the mine in Eveleth, Minnesota, and for the township in White Pine and Best Western in Silver City. He loved the Porcupine Mountains and the U.P. area and went on many day trips with his wife, Linda. They enjoyed spending summers at their cabin on Lake Superior, and spending time in the woods. They loved hosting their grandkids at home and the cabin, and making visits to see them in Wisconsin.

Mike is survived by his daughter, Mary (Paul) Werch, and son, Wallace Orcutt; seven grandchildren, Madeline (Kyle) Belville, Megan Werch, Jack Werch, Sydney Boldon, Emily Boldon, Natalie Boldon and McClaine Michael Orcutt; and one great-granddaughter, Emery Belville; his sister, Joyce Patricia Flanders; and many nieces and nephews. Mike is also survived by his "iddy biddy buddy" Boots, his canine companion for 13 years.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Linda, in 2014; brother-in-law, Ralph Flanders; and best friend from high school, Roy Kubley, shot down over Laos in January 1967 on Operation Ranch Hand during the Vietnam War.

There will be a celebration of life later this spring at the American Legion in White Pine.

Mike will be interred alongside his beloved wife, Linda, at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Rockland.

Our family would like to thank the staff of Patriot Place Assisted Living, Heartland Hospice, Agnesian Hospice, Juliette Manor, and Cane Funeral Home.

We would like to extend a very special thank you to the people of White Pine, and the local area health care workers who through all their acts of kindness allowed Mike to stay in his home at 24 Oak St. as long as he did.

 
 

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