Everyone has a funny Mike Paradis story. But beyond the fun and social, athletic and intelligent person he was, what most distinguished Mike was his BIG heart. He lived and breathed the motto “Family First”, and those closest to him knew he would do anything for the people he loved.
Michael Charles Paradis was born in March of 1966 in Holyoke, Massachusetts to Elsie Blount and Charles Paradis. At the age of 6 Michael moved to Columbus, Ohio with his mom. In Ohio, Elsie and Dr. Wilbur C. Blount gave birth to Mike’s sisters, Elizabeth and Jacqueline. Mike’s family was further expanded as Charles Paradis and Joan Trufant gave birth to Mike’s sister, Yvette, and brother, Brian in Massachusetts. Growing up in Bexley, Mike formed a close bond with his mother, who encouraged him to play baseball, root for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and jam out to disco, R&B and hip hop. R&B and OSU became ingrained into Mike’s DNA, thanks to his ever-protective and loving mom. Mike was a star side-arm pitcher at Bexley High School, and earned a spot on the Cornell team where he pitched for a year. During his summers, Mike would spend time with the Paradis and O’Shaughnessy families in Massachusetts, where he became a diehard Red Sox and Patriots fan, while relishing in every possible sports competition with his cousins and doing chores for his beloved memere and pepere (his grandparents). In 1993, his Paradis siblings moved to Scottsdale, Arizona which made visits farther apart, but always very special events.
Mike graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering in 1988. He went on to earn an MBA from Columbia University. Mike would go on to work for Prudential as a portfolio manager for 22 years, before spending the final chapter of his career as a private wealth manager, which enabled him to utilize his brilliant financial mind to help families and friends in need.
In 1993, Michael and Victoria May moved to Maplewood NJ where they raised their two children Christopher and Jamie. A dedicated and deeply caring father, Michael reveled in his role as ‘dad,’ both to his immediate family and to children in the neighborhood. Whether chasing kids around the bases in backyard wiffle ball games, or flipping Chris, Jamie, and friends in the pool, everyone begged Mike to be next. Camping out with Jamie at family room sleepovers, watching endless episodes together of Good Luck Charlie, Lemonade Mouth, Wizards of Waverly Place and Pitch Perfect (his favorite), and road trips to Hershey Park, Disney World and Dorney Park, Mike was always there for his children, regularly reminding them that “you have no idea how much I love you.”
Michael’s impact can still be felt in Maplewood, where he served as president of the Maplewood Tennis Little Club, and volunteered as a beloved baseball/softball coach, mentoring and building the self-esteem of a generation of children at every skill level. He became legendary for spending late nights preparing local baseball diamonds for big game days. An avid outdoorsman, Mike’s family adventures included Grand Canyon whitewater rafting, summer retreats at Tyler Place Vermont, skiing in the Rocky Mountains, and vacations at the Duncan-Huffman farmhouse in northeastern Pennsylvania. Michael especially loved the trips to Tijuana Mexico with Chris and Jamie and other volunteers, building homes for impoverished families.
In December 2011, Mike met Joanie O’Dwyer, a mother of two and dedicated teacher. After a whirlwind romance (it was ‘instant love’) the two were married in the summer of 2013, and had a dedicated and loving marriage. They settled in Pelham NY where Michael relished being a loving and devoted father to two more children, Sean and Ciara (as well as coaching every one of their softball and baseball teams). Mike became a loving and steady influence in their lives, providing them with everything from an introduction to music much different from their mom’s to teaching them how to use any number of tools. He also was adored by Joanie’s parents, Terry and Donna O’Dwyer. Mike would do anything for them, and from their influence, even he learned to embrace St Patrick's Day parades and the Irish culture. As in Maplewood, Mike quickly embraced his new community, becoming an integral part of all-things Pelham. A natural leader, he volunteered his time and heart as Pelham Little League board member, Chamber of Commerce vice president, while serving on the boards of Pelham Civics and the Knights of Columbus. Michael’s caring, hospitable nature always ensured everyone felt included, valued and welcomed. He also quickly earned a neighborhood reputation for his DIY fix-it skills (aided by his insane assortment of tools), and his ‘drop-everything-I’m-here-to help’ availability in an emergency. Even as Best Doggie Dad, Mike somehow made time for daily walks with his beloved Charlie at Glen Island. Meanwhile, Mike and Joanie, along with all four children and extended family cherished their decade of summers spent together at their Southold, Long Island home, numerous overnight trips to NYC where Mike and Joanie loved to explore all that the city had to offer, and family trips to upstate New York, Florida, Newport, Philadelphia, Boston, Ireland and Italy.
Mike will be remembered by many as a loyal and caring gentleman who was true to his word. People often joked that his heart was larger than his body because of his selfless and giving nature. Mike will be sorely missed, but remembered fondly by all who crossed his wide and loving path during a too-short stay on Earth, which he left a better and happier place. You can honor Mike’s memory by always remembering to give those who need it a warm and enveloping “big Mike” hug!
Michael is survived by his wife Joanie; his children Chris, Jamie, Sean, and Ciara; his mother Elsie, his siblings: Elizabeth Blount & Lee McCormick, Jacqueline Blount, Brian & Erin Paradis, and Yvette & Jim Brooks, niece and nephews Dylan, Alora, James and Clay Brooks, step-mother Joan Paradis, in-laws Terry and Donna O’Dwyer, brother and sister in-law, Brendan and Ryanne O’Dwyer . He is predeceased by his fathers Wilbur Blount and Charles Paradis.
A celebration of Mike's life will take place on Saturday, March 11th at the Huguenot Memorial Church located at 901 Pelhamdale Avenue, Pelham Manor, New York. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Mike's memory to Pelham Together. www.pelhamtogether.org. For more information or to leave a condolence please visit www.pelhamfuneral.com