Within the past ten days I received very sad news regarding two very good friends with the passing of Jim Baumgartner and Michael J. Kiley.
Over the past ten years, I became a good friend of Jim Baumgartner, the Volunteer Coordinator at the College Football Hall of Fame. We conversed frequently about our love of sports and our families and we talked by telephone just days before Jim passed about his idea for a radio program. He was one of the most courageous, positive individuals I have ever been associated with and he always had a friendly greeting to all he met. Jim never failed to extend greetings to “my Mrs. and the family.”
Mike Kiley has been my dear friend for over thirty years, dating back to our serving on the Alumni Board at Culver, fellow Trustees at Holy Cross College, being neighbors at Lake Wawasee, and in addition my personal attorney. Mike never met anyone he did not like and he had a legion of friends across the country. I am rich in memories of hilarious occasions with Mike at The Lake, Notre Dame Football games, the Indiana Society in Chicago, the west coast of Florida, and Chicago’s old Golden Ox Restaurant where we shared a “touch of the creature” on more than one occasion.
Both men suffered long with serious health issues, but always presented strong, positive attitudes. I never heard them complain and their wives and families were always the center of their universe. Jim and Mike were true gentlemen and fervent alumni of their respective Universities.
I already miss these gentle giants who I am certain are resting peacefully in the strong, gentle, warm arms of their maker. Jim is forming a Fan Club for Indiana University in heaven while Mike has the best seats in the house for Notre Dame Football games coached by Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy. My thoughts and prayers go out to their wives and families, and it saddens me that I never told them enough just how special our friendships were and that I loved them.
May God bless Jim and Mike, who were the best things a man could ever have…, good friends.