Michael Patrick Lally was called to the Lord on July 28, 2020 in Sarasota, Florida after a short but mighty battle with cancer. Mike was born on March 27, 1960 in Whittier, California to John Patrick Lally and Joan Patricia Lally.
He attended Army & Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California, followed by Southern California Military Acadamy in Signal Hill, California. Mike attended La Habra High School in La Habra, California, graduating in 1978.
Mike was an avid waterman, swimming competitively at a young age while growing up in Southern California. He enjoyed age group and summer league competition, swam on his High School and College teams, and played water polo in college. Mike loved being in the water, on the water or below the water’s surface, swimming, surfing, sailing, sailboat racing, boating, deep sea fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving. He also enjoyed skiing, teaching himself how to ski in elementary school. He had an amazing talent on the slopes.
From an early age, Mike had a passion for travel and aviation, earning his Private Pilot’s license in his teens. He also became a certified flight instructor with an instrument rating, teaching many pilots to fly throughout the West and Hawaii. Mike attended Cypress College in California, gaining a 2 year degree in Liberal Arts. After graduating from Cypress College, Mike worked in the telecommunications industry. While working in telecommunications, he helped to design, engineer and install the cable television network and system throughout central and southern California.
Mike resumed his education at California State University, Fullerton, graduating in 1988 with a degree in Geography. While at CSU Fullerton, he became a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity. It is through Mike’s fraternity that he met his wife and life partner at a beach party in Huntington Beach, California.
Mike’s aviation career took him to Las Vegas, where he flew tours of the Grand Canyon. Mike also ferried airplanes across the United States and worked out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale International Airports flying passengers and cargo to islands in the Caribbean. His love of flying also took him to the Pacific Northwest, where he was based out of Seattle, flying cargo to locations throughout the Northwest, including Alaska and Canada. Mike’s last aviation position was flying passengers for Mesa Air Group in Hawaii and Charlotte NC. Mike was a natural pilot, at home in any cockpit. Not only did he truly love aviation, those he flew and worked with told him he was good at it.
A decade resident of Kailua-Kona, Mike was an active member of the “Pier Group”, swimming the Iron Man Course in Kailua Bay several times a week. Mike had a distinctive powerful stroke that could be spotted from shore. He also competed in open water races, such as the Waikiki Rough Water Swim, Hapuna Cinco De Mayo Splash, the Kings Swim, the Kukio Blue Water Swim, the Ali’i Challenge and the Maui Channel Swim.
Mike had a gift of remembering people and names, even if he only met you once. He was always quick with a smile and a witty comment in passing. Mike liked to cause mischief with co-workers and friends all in good fun. Many a friend can remember a practical joke or story that would end in uncontrollable laughter or a knowing grin.
In 2013, Mike moved his family from Kailua-Kona Hawaii to Sarasota Florida, to be closer to extended family. In Sarasota, he touched many lives, with kindness and genuine interest in people. Although he missed the cockpit terribly, his priority was spending time with his daughter, being the swim taxi and providing a healthy home cooked meal each night. Mike was a grill master, and loved all things barbeque. Part of Mike’s enjoyment of flying included layovers when the crew would get to try a new place for barbeque. He loved all styles, Memphis, Texas, South Carolina, Korean – the list was endless.
His life was rich with lasting friendships, camaraderie, interactions and experiences. Mike is survived by his wife and 35 year partner, Dianna Lally, daughter Malia, extended family and friends he met on his journey that we are fortunate and blessed to include as our ‘ohana.
A Celebration of Life was held graveside at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California on Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 3 pm PDT.
A Paddle Out for Mike was held on Sunday, September 6, 2020 in Southern California. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc. or the American Cancer Society.
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