Victor “Mike” Michael Grahn, 78, passed away May 16, 2020 after a lengthy and valiant struggle to overcome the complications of heart failure. All who knew and loved him will remember him as the embodiment of the closing lines of Dylan Thomas’ poem: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” His life was filled with masterful victories over seemingly impossible challenges, accomplished by unwavering courage and an uncanny ability to find a path to success. Some of these encompassed his military service during the Vietnam War as an active duty Army Special Forces Airborne Ranger and later as an Air Force reservist loadmaster working with C-130’s. A life-long learner as well as an intrepid entrepreneur, he earned degrees in both mechanical and structural engineering and took post-graduate work in nuclear engineering. He continued studies in chemical engineering to develop Anchor-Tite sealant products as the CEO of Grahn Manufacturing Company. As a second avocation, he formed Leisure Homes, designing and building unique residential and vacation homes in the Midwest. An avid motorcyclist, he invented a series of high-quality motorcycle polishes and marketed them under the brand of Pig-Glow Products. Also a gifted general aviation pilot, he combined his love of flying with marketing his own line of aviation products known as “Final Approach”. Additionally, he was an accomplished percussion musician noted for his perfect pitch and outstanding sense of rhythm and performed as a drummer in various Kansas City nightclubs during his high school years. Throughout his life, he was a talented artist who specialized in painting, pottery, and Native American-style beadwork.
He is survived by Diana, his high school sweetheart and wife of almost 57 years, who joined and supported him in all his adventures, including golfing, snow and water skiing, fishing, flying, and motorcycling. Their two sons, Kristian M. Grahn and Peter G. Grahn will forever cherish their many memories and his lasting legacy as their mentor, life coach, and unwavering defender and champion in all their pursuits. Both Kristian and Peter embraced his devotion to the Boy Scouts of America, which began in Mike’s early teen years. During those years, he earned his Eagle Scout Award and later became a “hard-way warrior” in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say at Bartle Reservation. As an adult, he served many positions in Scouting, ranging from Scout Master to Campsite commissioner to the honor of “Sachem” and as a leader in the Tribal Council of Mic-O-Say. Mike’s only grandson, Samuel A. Grahn, also followed the family tradition as an Eagle Scout and a warrior in Mic-O-Say.
Mike was 32nd Degree Mason as well as a member of the Scottish and York Rites, Aarat Shrine, and American Legion Post 21. He has held past positions on the City Council of Lake Winnebago and its architectural and planning and zoning committees.
He will be remembered for his contagious laughter, his expansive personality, his genuine altruism, and his steadfast love of family.
To commemorate his first solo flight for his pilot’s license, Mike was given a treasured memento that stated, “Mike Grahn left this Earth alone and unafraid and returned an airman.” Once again he has left this Earth alone and unafraid, but now he joins the embrace of God.
The family will have a private service with a memorial service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials and contributions are suggested to the Wounded Warrior Project or The Mason Home of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.