A memorial service to honor and celebrate the life of Michael Roy "Mike" Critchfield will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at the Blue Starr Church of Christ with family receiving friends beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Mike passed away Monday morning at his Claremore home. He was 73. Services have been entrusted to Rice Funeral Service.
Born Oct. 30, 1942 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mike was raised by maternal grandparents that were to him his father and mother, Guy and Helen Critchfield. It was around the age of two that Oklahoma became home for young Mike as his family settled first in Oklahoma City. Eventually, the greater Tulsa area became home to the Critchfield's as they spent time in Catoosa, finally establishing deep roots in Claremore.
Mike was a graduate of the Zebras' class of 1961 and, while in high school, was also fortunate enough to meet a beautiful young lady in Linda Norman.
The two instantly became high school sweethearts and would later join together in marriage and life.
Following high school, Mike furthered his education attending the University of Oklahoma. After two years there, he transferred to a college in California before enlisting in the United States Air Force. For eight years Mike served his country in this role, including a tour in Vietnam. It was during his tenure of service that he and Linda would unite together in marriage. The wedding ceremony took place July 19, 1965 at the Central Church of Christ in Claremore and upon his honorable discharge, seven years later, Mike and Linda would return to Claremore where they have remained for the past forty plus years.
A beloved educator, Mike completed a degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He then fulfilled his student teaching assignment at Oologah where he had his own son, Jon, as a student.
For the next 26 years, Mike had a career with Sequoyah Public Schools where he served as the Information Technology Director and as a classroom teacher for most of that span. It was through his teaching capacity that he gained the affectionate title, "Mr. C" by his beloved students. It also didn't take long for Mr. C to somewhat become a bit famous around town, as daughter, Karen expressed we are amazed even to this day to meet someone who was a former student and not surprised to hear him or her say, "I loved your dad".
Although he dearly loved his time and the countless relationships that were fostered through his teaching, Mike's true passion was his faith and ministry. He was an Elder at the Blue Starr Church of Christ and was heavily involved in various ministries including: the bus ministry, children's worship, audio/video technology and possibly his favorite - studying and teaching God's Word. In fact, when he taught he didn't hand out just a single sheet of paper with bullet points, NO! Rather, he delivered to each person in attendance an entire packet filled to the brim with all he had gained through his diligent research and preparation.
Outside of the church walls, a special bond that Mike and Linda shared together was that of serving in the Tulsa Air National Guard. Linda recruited her husband and for an additional fifteen years he returned to serve his country. Mike retired from this duty in 2002, at the age of 60, having attained Sr. Master Sergeant. A bit ironic, having never owned a gun or weapon of his own, his responsibility was that of weapons safety officer.
Over the last couple of years, following his retirement, Mike and Linda have enjoyed traveling and vacationing together.
Some would say the main reason for all of the travel was so Mike could order dessert following dinner - a delicacy that he grew up with and expected, but that ended upon marriage.
Compassionate, kind, faithful, considerate, loving, friendly, humble and passionate have all been words used to describe Mike. A man who always had a smile and kind word ready for those he encountered. Others always felt blessed after seeing and visiting with Mike. In return, being Papa to grandsons, Riker and Drake filled his cup. Papa truly treasured his grandsons and counted each moment he shared with them a real blessing.
This man of faith, family and community will deeply be missed by those who knew and loved him. He leaves to carry on his legacy: his wife of 50 years, Linda (Norman) Critchfield; his children: daughter, Karen Olari; son, Jon Critchfield and fiancé, Melissa Cammarata; two grandsons: Riker and Drake Olari all of Claremore and a brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Noemi Critchfield of New Madrid, Missouri; the boys' father, Tom Olari. He is also survived by numerous other family members and a host of beloved friends.
Mike was preceded in death by: his parents, Guy and Helen Critchfield; his mother, Helen Margaret (Critchfield) Payne and an uncle, Buddy Critchfield.
In memory of Mike, memorial donations may be made to an organization that was close to his heart, Hope Harbor, P.O. Box 1047, Claremore, OK 74018.
Published on July 1, 2016