Mike passed away.

More properly to me, Engineer Mike. To say that Engineer Mike was a co-worker would be to say the Pacific Ocean is a splash of water.

Way more than a co-worker, Engineer Mike was my friend.

When I received the call that Engineer Mike had passed away, I was in another town having just spent a great afternoon with family. Kids. Grandkids. Family. It was one of those afternoons that comes along too rarely the older you get.

And then my phone rang, and I was told that Engineer Mike has passed away. He had struggled with major health problems over the past two, two and a half years. So it shouldn't have been a shock.

It was a shock.

In the hour or so driving back to Sioux Falls, I was telling my wife I couldn't really believe it, it hadn't registered yet.

It still hasn't.

I told her how strange it would be not to see Engineer Mike shuffle through the door (He shuffled those last couple years). How I was really going to miss talking with Engineer Mike about the 'old days' of radio, the reel-to-reel tape machines, the carted tape commercials and music, the way it used to be. We liked it better than, I suppose. Us older folks always 'liked it be then'. Memories tend to bend to the warm side.

No more talking about the Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Engineer Mike was an engineer for sure, a helluva engineer. But he was a pop/rock music guy and again, it was from the 'old days'. If you wanted to talk Chubby Checker, the Monkees, Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton...heck, Bobby Sherman, 'ol Engineer Mike was your guy.

And there would be no more of that. No more calling Engineer Mike when there was some kind of flutter in the radio signal or when something didn't seem right. No more having him show me how something worked and how I would suffer from 'MEGO'...My Eyes Glazed Over.

Damn it, now all that was gone.

And then it hit me. Becky had lost her husband. Kids had lost their dad. Grandkids had lost Grandpa. Loved ones lost a loved one. I had lost a friend who had meant so very much to me. They had lost someone who meant everything to them.

I've been in this business called radio for over 45 years now. I've worked all over the state of South Dakota and met a ton of folks. There have been so many great people I've had the good fortune to know. Engineer Mike was one.

When I think of Engineer Mike, or talk with people about him, I'm sad...then I smile...and when I recall a story about him or one he told me, I laugh. That's the kind of guy he was.

Thank God for that.