Sunday evening, February 7, 2016, Michael J. Grande of Edmond, Oklahoma entered the gates of heaven and was received with open arms by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, both parents Joseph and Josephine Grande and most recent, his father-in-law, Robert D. Hitt. At the time of death, Michael was 63yrs, 10 months and 10 days old. Michael passed away peacefully surrounded by family and the love of his five dogs after enduring a 7 ½ year battle of cancer.
Michael was delivered by a midwife on March 28th 1952, in the town of Altamura, Italy. In 1958, when Michael was 7yrs old, his family immigrated to the United States for a better life. They resided in Brooklyn, New York. He gained his US citizenship in August of 1963. Mike studied 1year at Brooklyn College and played 1year semi-pro football for the Brooklyn Bruins. Upon the passing of his mother in 1971, Michael transferred to Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma and played football under the direction of Coach Cross. He loved telling the story of his journey from New York City to the little town of Goodwell, Oklahoma. Known as “Rutt”, he was an outstanding football player and held the position of left linebacker. He was named All Conference many times. Michael graduated in May, 1975 with the degree in Health/Physical Education. During his summer vacations while in college, he worked at Swift & Company as a beef lugger.
Michael and Patty Hitt were married August 31, 1974 at the Presbyterian Church in Guymon, Oklahoma. This union was blessed with 3 wonderful sons, Michael Joseph, Thomas Gregory, and Mark Daniel.
In August of 1975, Mike was asked to join the management staff at Swift & Company in Guymon as loading dock supervisor. Thus began his 40 year span in the beef industry. He worked at Swift in Guymon for 13 years until the plants closing. Mike then was hired by National Beef in Liberal, Kansas in October of 1987 and remained dedicated to them until his retirement in December 2014. While at National Beef, he held the positions of Quality Control manager and Fabrication manager and implemented the stream line inspection on the kill floor. He loved the cattle industry and the people he worked with. Mike had much respect and encouragement for his workers and treated them fair. After retirement, Mike and Patty moved to Edmond to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
October 22 of 2008, Mike was diagnosed with Liposarcoma Cancer. From the first day, he took on the attitude, “Ok, I have cancer so what do we need to do and let’s get it done.” He never once complained or felt sorry for himself and never wanted people to feel sorry for him either. Mike was the most strongest, courageous, bravest, determined and admired cancer fighter there ever was. He never gave up and always remained faithful. All his life Mike, was a hard working provider for his family and was always thankful for all that he had. In October of 2012, Mike had a spiritual experience which led him to re-affirm his belief in the Lord. Every opportunity he had, he witnessed his beliefs for his Savior Jesus Christ.
Mike loved cooking Italian food, gardening, tinkering in his workshop, and always gave his sons a to-do list to fix their broken things which he so enjoyed. Mike loved being at home with his family and his dogs: Sophie, Chloe, Mia, Dominic, and Presley and gave the best hugs. He was well loved and respected by all.
Those remaining to cherish his memory include: his devoted wife Patty, of 41 years; three Sons, Michael (Lauren) Grande of Edmond, OK; Gregory (Kim) Grande of Bolivar, OH; Mark Grande of Austin, TX; six beautiful Grandchildren, Dakota Grande of Bolivar, OH; Brayden, Carsen, Walker, Cade and Mason Grande all of Edmond, OK; his Sister, Nina Grande and Brother, Frank (Isabel) Grande both of Old Bridge NJ; Mother-in-law, Rosemaire Hitt of Denison, IA; Sister-in-law, Sue (Larry) Cox of Irving, TX; Brother-in-law, Bob (Kathy) Hitt of Borger, TX; several Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews both here in the United States and abroad in Italy and a Special Goddaughter, Charity Savedra Gomez of Portales, NM.
Our hearts are breaking for the loss of the man we call: Darling, Dad, Big Mike, Papa, Brother, Uncle and Friend. We know Mike has renewed Life in Heaven and will forever be missed and in our hearts.
Funeral Service will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 13th at the Seward County Events Center 810 Stadium Ave. in Liberal, KS with Rev. Rex Petty presiding. Cremation will take place following services.
Visitation will be 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday at Brenneman Funeral Home with the family present to greet friends from 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Memorial Contributions may be given to the Michael J. Grande Memorial Fund or to CaringBridge in care of Brenneman Funeral Home 1212 W. 2nd Liberal, KS 67901.