After 73 years of making his mark in the world, Mike passed peacefully from this life into eternal rest on Friday, February 2, 2024, in New Port Richey, Florida. Mike was born in Corning, NY on November 20, 1950, the son of the late Elwyn and Verna (Young) Learn.
Mike was a lifelong resident of Schuyler County and enjoyed his days on the shores of Seneca Lake. In recent years he found a home and community he loved in Hudson, Florida.
Mike was an alum of Watkins Glen, Class of 1969. He was a multi-sport athlete and was inducted into the WG Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. Mike attended Ashland University in Ohio and studied business. He was a proud member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. Upon graduation, he returned home and worked for Learn Motors eventually taking ownership of the business which he ran until his retirement in 2014.
Mike embodied these words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The purpose of life is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." Mike made a difference! He was an integral part of the Watkins Glen community. He worked hard and found joy in the simple pleasures of life, whether it was outdoor activities, cheering at sporting events, or cocktails with friends he cherished every moment. Mike was devoted to his family, friends, and community. He gave freely of his time and was an active member of several service organizations: Rotary International, Elks Club, Moose Club, and Mechanics Club, he also volunteered his time to support the United Way, Seneca Santa, and many other community efforts. He never said no to someone in need.
Mike's absence will be felt deeply by so many who loved and respected him. He is survived by his children: son, Jeffrey (Christin Bresett) Learn and daughter, Alicia (Philip McIlroy) Learn; his partner and best friend, Esther Heichel; his bonus children Jenna (John) Niedermaier, Daniel (Elissa) Heichel, David Heichel, and Jeffrey (Ryan) Heichel. Mike's love for and pride in his family was immense and his legacy lives on in his 13 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren who have all been blessed to experience the love he so freely shared. He also leaves behind his fur baby, Marley, and countless other family and friends.
Despite spending over 15 years battling a rare medical condition he showed unwavering courage and tenacity. You never heard him complain, his smile and laughter still prevailed even on his toughest days, right up to the end.
Mike's family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to Gloria Epp and Mary Dore for their constant care and compassion in assisting Esther to provide him with the best care at home.
A celebration of Mike's life will be held this spring. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Vedder-Scott & Zinger Funeral Home, Montour Falls, NY. Details are to be announced at a later date.
We respectfully ask that in lieu of flowers, you honor Mike by considering donating your time, talents, and resources to any local charity.