Michael Allen Embree, 61, of San Antonio, Texas died unexpectedly on May 6, 2021 at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Mike was born on Nov. 22, 1959 in Quincy, Illinois, the eldest child of Dorothy Embree (King) and Russell Embree. Mike married Karen Sparks on July 4, 2003.
He is survived by his wife of nearly twenty years; his children, Dutch (Caitlin) Cosmian (Embree) of Kailua, HI and Halsey (Zach Gring) Embree of Sugar Grove, IL; siblings Don (Sally) Embree of Waukee, IA; Kathy (Jim) Koenig of Wheaton, IL; and Lisa (Alvaro) Perales of Bettendorf, IA; granddaughter Beatrix Cosmian; several nieces and nephews; many friends; and dog Mattie.
He was preceded in death by his parents and beloved grandparents Elva and Kathryn King and John and Mazie Embree.
Mike was raised in Erie, Illinois and was a great big brother who always kept watch over his little brother and sisters. Of course, Mike’s siblings were often on the receiving end of his well-known ornery behavior but those closest to Mike know that teasing was one of his languages of love.
Growing up, Russ and Dorothy instilled the importance of a strong work ethic in Mike. This was something he took an unspoken pride in for his entire life. Mike’s first job was as a bagger at Seger's Grocery Store in Erie. While in high school, he also worked as a farmhand for Don Morphew in Cordova and Bob Mix in Erie.
Mike graduated Erie High School in 1977 and went on to work at Illini Beef Packers in Joslin, IL. He later became a security guard at the Cordova Nuclear Energy Plant. Mike was a hard-working, dedicated employee and eventually accepted a promotion that led him and his family to relocate to the Chicagoland area in 1989. Mike was in the security business for the rest of his professional life. He retired from Allied Universal as Vice President of Operations in 2018.
Mike was a quiet and unassuming man. Those that knew Mike best knew his sensitive side — he was very kind, sentimental, and soft-hearted. Family was extremely important to Mike and he was a loving, supportive and attentive father. He prioritized sit-down family dinners and Friday movie nights and he attended nearly every event his children were involved in through the years—from band concerts to tee ball, softball, basketball and horseback riding lessons. Mike loved to drive, especially in his (many and always) RED Ford pick-up trucks, and drove hundreds of thousands of miles to spend time with family throughout the years.
Mike was a man of numerous interests and talents. He enjoyed farming, fishing, hunting, cooking, baking and making (and eating!) homemade ice cream. He started playing the banjo again in recent years and loved learning and picking some of his favorite bluegrass songs. He was an artist and liked painting, sketching and cross stitching. But his true passion was woodworking. He found joy in making intricate, beautiful and priceless pieces for his family and friends. Mike loved spending his days in his shop listening to his favorite classic country music and bringing his meticulous attention to detail to each piece he was working on.
Mike was also an avid runner and began running alongside his father Russ. They often ran together in the evenings on the country roads in and around Erie and they finished many of the same races, including several marathons. Mike was also there at Russ’s side when he set out to run 50 miles on his 50th birthday. Running through the night, the two of them accomplished the milestone together. After that, marathons became a passion of Mike’s and he completed over 70 in his lifetime, many of them with his wife Karen. The couple often combined their love of travel with their love of running by attending races in cities throughout the country.
Mike moved to Texas in 2003 and created a wonderful community in San Antonio with Karen. Mike could often be found at his favorite tex-mex restaurants or attending get-togethers with Karen and their many close friends. Mike was well known for his great sense of humor, infamous pranks and delicious rum punch and Bloody Marys that brought a little more life to parties.
The last several years tested not-only Mike but the entire Embree clan. Throughout those difficulties Mike remained stalwart and courageous and brought strength to us all even when he had little of it himself.
Mike was guided by his faith in God and was a loving and devoted husband, son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend, and touched countless lives. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
The Embree Family would like to thank family and friends who have reached out during this difficult time with prayers, words of encouragement and support.
Funeral services are at 12 noon, Saturday, May 15, at Hendricker Funeral Home in Mt. Sterling, with Pastor Don Embree officiating. Visitation is from 11 a.m. until the time of services. Face masks are required.
Mike’s services will also be live streamed starting at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, May 15, 2021 on the funeral home website at hendrickerfuneralhome.com.
Interment will be in the Pleasant View Cemetery, near Camp Point, Illinois.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to The Salvation Army of San Antonio, 521 W. Elmira St., San Antonio, TX 78212 and Brown County Against Cancer, 406 S. Capitol Ave., Mt Sterling, IL 62353.
We also encourage the community to leave a condolence or remembrance on the website for the family.
To send flowers to Mike's family, please visit our floral store.
Brown County Against Cancer
P.O. Box 68, Mount Sterling IL 62353
The Salvation Army of San Antonio
521 West Elmira Street, San Antonio TX 78212