LAWRENCE — Harold “Mike” Michael Patchen, Lawrence, died Wednesday, July 21, 2021, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 74.
He was born July 1, 1947, in Lawrence, to Harold Eugene and Mary Merlene (Ridgway) Patchen. The family lived in Junction City and Ottawa before moving back to Lawrence in 1955. He attended Pinckney Elementary School, Central Junior High, and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1965.
Mike began his working career at age 12, delivering newspapers in the neighborhood and doing odd jobs for his older neighbors. He worked part time for Ship Winter Chevrolet as a mechanic during his senior year of high school.
After graduation, he worked a short time in the automotive department at Tempo. In 1966, he began his career as a diesel mechanic for Lawrence Freight Line, and worked there until the freight line closed in 1993. He then went to work as a diesel mechanic for Penske Truck Leasing. He transitioned to working for Koch Industries when they took over the K-Mart truck leasing from Penske, retiring from Koch in 2009.
Mike joined the Army National Guard in 1965 and served on active duty during the Vietnam War. He married his high school sweetheart, Sandra Sue Schlink, April 9, 1967. They lived in Lawrence until he left for active duty in April 1968. Upon his return, they moved to the country southwest of Lawrence, and they have lived in that area for over 50 years. His love of rural life grew as the couple ventured into a small farming and cattle ranching operation.
He was happiest when he was working on the farm. He enjoyed being on a tractor, doing whatever needed to be done, watching the young calves venture the fields, mowing and baling hay, fixing and getting the farm equipment ready to use. He loved helping others and doing things with his family, friends and neighbors.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Steven Patchen; and his brothers-in-law, John Rooney and George (Buddy) Lawrence.
He is survived by his wife, Sandra; his daughter, Michelle Wasson (David); his son, John Patchen; his grandchildren, Kathryn Anne Freidl, Kaylah Marie Patchen and Roman Patchen; his sister, Mary Rooney; his sisters-in-law, Betty Grems, Kay Barngrover (Rick), and Leda Lawrence; and 13 nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life and remembrance memorial will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 27, at the Washington Creek Church of the Brethren, rural Douglas County.
Memorial contributions may be made to Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association, American Cancer Society, or Washington Creek Church, and sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, P.O. Box 1260, Lawrence, KS 66044.
Online condolences may be left at Rumsey-Yost.com.