Mike Rone, 63, formerly of St. Paul and recently of Orono, Minnesota, died of a sudden illness on December 29, 2012.
Mike was born on May 23, 1949 in Miami Beach, Florida. He moved to St.Paul with his family in 1964 and attended Highland Park High Schoolgraduating in 1967 where he honed his graceful and fearless approach to life through his passion for diving. He then graduated from Union College in Ithaca, NY, in 1971 and went on to the University of North Carolina for several years in pursuit of a PhD in Neuroanatomy. However, before he could complete his studies at UNC, Mike’s father, George, asked him to join him in his kitchen cabinet manufacturing company, Medallion Kitchens. This began Mike’s lifelong career in business, most recently Northern Contours, which he co-founded in 1992. He loved the people, risk, potential andgame of business and he was rooted in the joy and connectivity of every encounter.
Mike leaves behind his wife Kristin Lipshultz Rone (Carlson), his two daughters, Jerusha (of the world at large) and Jessica (Carey Smith)of Taos, NM, as well as their mother Carol Rone of St. Paul. In addition, Mike is survived by a brother, Rick Rone of Bradenton, FL and a sister, Lynn Rogers of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and many nieces and nephews. Mike is preceded in death by his parents, George and Irma Rone, residents of the Highland Park area for many years.
Those who know and love Mike will remember him for his great sense of humor, the warm twinkle in his eye and his magnanimous character. He had a sharp wit but a gentle tongue. His motto for life was “Work Hard, Play Hard”, and he followed that with all his heart, alwaysmixing business with pleasure.
Mike and Kristin’s love of travel was enriched by including family andfriends in every adventure. Among the highlights were Africa, PapuaNew Guinea, Mexico, Turkey and Italy. He loved activities that drew peopleinto his life to play. One of his favorite things was to spend time with his family and friends at their cabin on Battle Lake where he presided overand won many a heated family Ping-Pong tournament.
Mike was also a bit of a risk taker, which came with being devoted toliving life to its fullest. A few years ago, Mike realized his dreamof a private pilot’s license. He loved to take friends and family upfor rides in his plane (those who would dare!). He was thrilled to put his skills to use flying his single engine Cessna on a 3-weekadventure to Costa Rica with his daughter Jerusha.
Mike was a regular participant in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, anannual 192 mile bike ride across Massachusetts raising funds forthe Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Mike has completed this ride nearlyevery year since 1992 and raised countless thousandsof dollars for the cause.
Once his friend, you were always Mike’s friend, no matter how long ithad been since you’d seen him last. He has a core group dating backto college days of the Delta Phi fraternity at Union. The bond ofthis brotherhood was the motivation for continued gatherings for golf,skiing and Mark Knopfler.
Another close-knit group, which recently included his daughter Jessica, would gather in theSelkirk Mountains of British Columbia for a special powder skiingadventure. When his friends ascend this year, they will carry Mike in their hearts.
A celebration of Mike’s life will convene at 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6 atthe University Club, 420 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.(Phone: 651-222-2699). There willbe an opportunity for all to share stories and memories with a reception immediately following.
No flowers please. Memorials preferred to the Dana-Farber CancerInstitute, or the charity of your choice.
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