Michael Alan Nolen was born on March 25, 1955 in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas to parents Cregg Parsons Nolen, an air force “fighter” pilot, and Roberta Jo Nolen. He passed away on July 14, 2020 at home. He was the youngest of four children, two girls and two boys.
Michael’s father was transferred to several locations, including Japan, Maryland, Colorado and Germany (where Michael graduated from high school). Michael graduated from college at the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts (Physical Geography) in 1993, where it was reported that he made all “A”’s with one “B” given for a writing class.
Michael took flying lessons and landed the plane on his first lesson. However, due to farsightedness and other eye issues, he was not able to become a commercial pilot. He then turned his attention to boating, having excellent “spatial skills.” Years later, he would give his wife, Sally, a copy of his favorite book, “The Curve of Time.” He sailed solo to British Columbia and enjoyed several fishing trips to Belize.
His career included many years working as a crane operator, helping to build high-rise buildings in the Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, area. He also worked as a fleet manager and had his own landscaping company in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Michael had a professional sewing machine and could repair canvas sails and make customized totes. He especially enjoyed playing “Mahjong Solitaire.”
Michael had a natural knack with animals, especially horses and dogs. His last dog, Buck, a Brittany Spaniel, lived 18 ½ years under Michael’s diligent care and special diet. He saved his wife (Sally)’s Boxer, Bandit, when he slipped off backwards from a ramp into the ocean. Mike threw himself to the dock and suffered bloodied knees and elbows as well as a busted pair of glasses. It was not going to happen on Big Mike’s watch! He scored a life-time of “Brownie points” for the latter and Bandit’s adoration.
Speaking of cooking, Michael enjoyed making omelets for both two-footed and four-footed friends and family. He was known for his blueberry pancakes and coconut shrimp. He was an attentive and welcoming host.
His stepdaughter, Amanda, writes the following: “He spent a lot of time on his vintage sailboat (a 33 foot Cape Dory) called ‘Pegasus.’ He naturally fit into the boating/sailing culture with his year-round worn Birkenstocks, lived-in sun-bleached clothes, willingness to help others, minimalistic (before it was cool) lifestyle, rejections of trends, knowledge of geography and love of fishing (especially fly fishing).”
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the United States, and Rockport, Texas, was the “eye of the storm.” Michael evacuated along with his wife—then, returned two days later. He saved his sailboat, which had a hole poked through its hull, secured his home, helped to clear debris from streets and assisted neighbors.
It also should be added that Michael loved to talk, to give detailed instructions and had liberal, open-minded and progressive political and personal views. He had a razor-sharp wit and could make you laugh to the point of a medical emergency.
In July 2019, Michael was hospitalized in Corpus Christi, Texas, for almost two months with Stage IV angiosarcoma (a rare, aggressive cancer with an incidence of about one in a million) and had a heart attack/open heart surgery within several days after admission. He was released in September 2019 and returned home to Rockport, Texas, walking up steps of the stilt house. He bravely endured surgery and chemotherapy treatments until about June 2020. He walked through every open door of treatment and then entered hospice services.
Michael is survived by his wife, Sally, his son and daughter-in-law, Travis and Elaine Nolen, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and his brother, Cregg P. Nolen, Jr., of Quitman, Texas. He also had close relationships with his stepchildren, Amanda Cline, of Irving, Texas, and Nicholas Cline, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
He was preceded, in death, by his parents, Cregg P. and Roberta J. Nolen and sisters, Christina (Chris) Nolen and Elizabeth (Betty) Knight, all of Colorado Springs.
The family would like to thank Dr. Jerome Lee Sang, M.D., Harbor Hospice (a shout-out to Nurse Tammy), Portland, Texas; Dr. Emile Salloum, M.D. and staff, Coastal Cancer Center, Corpus Christi; Dr. Michael Soler, M.D., and staff, Portland, Texas; and Dr. Vinod Ravi, M.D. and staff, Sarcoma Unit, M.D. Anderson, Houston, Texas.
In addition, the family would like to recognize and thank special friends, all of whom helped in caring and supporting Michael in the last year of his life: Steve Box, Rockport, Texas; Shara Thome, Austin, Texas; Glenn Miller, Pueblo, Texas; and Daniel (Dan) Montague, Denton, Texas. Your friendships were extremely important to Michael, and your love and devotion to him are noted and appreciated for eternity.
Michael wanted a cremation with no services; the family requests no flowers. If anyone wants to donate to a charity in Michael’s name, a dog rescue or no-kill shelter would be very much appreciated. Michael’s ashes will be sprinkled in Colorado, per his request, later.
Guestbook available online at www.resthavenfunerals.com
Arrangements and care entrusted to Resthaven Funeral Home, Aransas Pass.
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