South Lyon – Michael Roderick Haapala, 81, of South Lyon, Michigan peacefully passed away on July 18, 2022. He was born on August 10, 1940, in Calumet, Michigan to George Haapala and Lillian (Arola). Upon graduation from Calumet High School, Mike spent a year studying at Michigan Technological University and was a member of the National Guard before being drafted into the United States Army. He spent a year in Vietnam driving supply trucks through various territories for troop support. Upon his return, Mike worked for the C&H Mining Company; after 8 years on the railroad, Mike continued his studies at Michigan Tech and graduated in 1973. Mike was married on August 31, 1974, in Calumet to Esther (Suomala) of Frazee, Minnesota.
After the wedding, the couple moved to Lansing, Michigan, where Mike began his career as an engineer for the Michigan Department of Transportation. After a short period of time, they moved to Novi and eventually settled in South Lyon, Michigan, where they raised their five children. Mike spent 27 years working for MDOT and retired in 2002. One of his post retirement jobs was Chairman of the Board at Our Savior Apostolic Lutheran Church in South Lyon. His other post retirement job was being a wonderful grandfather (Papa) to his grandchildren.
Mike was a proud Yooper, Vietnam veteran, and engineer but he was especially proud of his five children and 13 grandchildren. His family and close friends will always remember him for having an excellent memory and being a wonderful storyteller. His nice baritone voice could always be heard singing hymns in church, he made connections with people everywhere he went, and also enjoyed card/board games and a good puzzle.
Mike is survived by Esther, his wife of 48 years; two of his brothers, Charlie, and Bob; his children, Sarah and Dave (Melville), Jeremy and Amanda, Maria and Steve (Hicks), Tom and Rebecca, Andy and Aimee; and his grandchildren Mason, Ava, Jonah, Abe, Jax, Aero, Jameson, Jasmine, Isaac, Ethan, Mathew, Eli, and Brynn.
Mike is preceded in death by his parents, George and Lillian, and his brother Jerry.
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’” -Romans 1:17.
Mike was a proud supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and Parkinson’s Foundation. We ask that in lieu of flowers you please consider donating to those charities in his name.
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