Joseph Michael Cvengros

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. – Joseph Michael Cvengros, 58, of Sandy Springs, Ga., passed away on June 17, 2014, after a lengthy illness with his family at his side. The strength and determination that defined his life was with him as he left this world.

“Mike” was born on May 21, 1956, in Madison, Wis., to Jerry and Shelley Cvengros. He was raised in Escanaba, and attended Escanaba High School where he was a three-sport athlete for the Eskymos, which included starting fullback and linebacker on the legendary ’72 and ’73 football teams. Mike also lettered in basketball and starred as a member of the Eskymos’ UP champion track teams as record-setting member of the mile relay team and low hurdler. His athletic prowess earned him a full-ride scholarship to Central Michigan University where he played on the Chippewa’s 1974 Division II National Championship team and started as a senior at offensive guard. In 2013, he was honored with induction into the Eskymos Wall of Fame on a beautiful September Saturday in his hometown.

He used his athletic scholarship to earn a degree in computer programming. He began his career in Detroit and relocated to South Florida were he resided for 33 years. He enjoyed a successful business career, which included several small businesses and 10 years with Wells Fargo, retiring in 2013. Mike was an avid reader and thinker who constantly sought to improve himself physically, mentally and spiritually. In 1990, he married May Payne who changed his life and brought out his best in so many ways. One of his lasting gifts is bringing May into the family.

Michael had a unique ability to make and keep friendships across space and over decades. He became an outstanding biker who liked to push the limits of physical endurance even while stricken with cancer. He used those talents to raise money for many charities and those who knew him can testify to his character, honesty, joy for life and his ability to command a room. Hope never left him and faith guided him through his final days as he showed us the way to live.

He was preceded in death by his beloved little sister, Lee Ann, in 2013; and father, Jerome, in March 2014.

Michael is survived by his wife and best friend, May Payne-Cvengros; daughter, Sarah (Richie) Phillips of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; son, Joseph Cvengros of South Beach, Fla.; Ochinda Wiley and grandson, Armand, of Dallas, Texas; his mother, Rochelle Cvengros of Okemos, Mich.; brothers, Steven (Nanine) and David (Holly) Cvengros; nieces, Katie, Lauren, Abby, Olivia and Madison; and many dear friends.

Michael will be laid to rest near his sister and father at East Lawn Cemetery in Okemos, Mich., and a celebration of his life will be held at St. Martha’s Church in Okemos on June 30, 2014, at 11 a.m., with a luncheon to follow. Michael’s family would like to thank everyone who has provided support throughout this most difficult year. Michael was a man of quiet intensity, strength and wisdom. We will never forget the sound of his laughter, and his unending spirit and grace will remain to guide us long into the future.