Aug. 16, 1959-Nov. 2, 2018
Friends and family will remember his smile and miss his warm, funny, compassionate, sometimes irreverent presence. He appreciated and made time to enjoy the finer things in life – relationships, people, good stories, good beer, and the outdoors.
Michael Van Meter died Friday evening, November 2, 2018, at Partners in Care Hospice House with wife Stacey holding one hand, and son Matthew holding the other. Michael’s daughter Autumn, who lives in Minnesota, recently spent a week in Bend, crocheting a beautiful quilt while watching the World Series with her father, and Michael was able to hear from his siblings by phone shortly before he died. Many friends surrounded Michael, Stacey, and Matthew and shared this transition.
Michael taught journalism and writing at Central Oregon Community College from 2003-2018, and served as advisor to the student newspaper, The Broadside, from 1998-2001. He also had a distinguished career in print (The Observer (La Grande), The Daily Record (Ellensburg, WA), The Bulletin, and other publications) and radio (KLCC) journalism, winning several awards for his work, including first place awards for education reporting, in-depth news and feature writing. He brought much of that talent and experience into his writing courses.
Students and colleagues appreciated his sweet and gentle nature, his wit, his skill at storytelling, and his commitment to creating a supportive, challenging learning environment for his students. He also made people laugh, as late as the morning of his death, with his “I’m not dead yet” comment in a terrible British accent. In his last few weeks he enjoyed visits from many friends and family members and expressed his gratitude for the gift of their time.
Michael was born on August 16, 1959, in Roseburg, Oregon, to Ray Van Meter and Etna (Joiner) Van Meter. He graduated from Eastern Oregon University, focusing on English and Education. In addition to his work as a journalist and educator, he served as an Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Bend.
He is survived by his wife, Stacey Donohue; his deeply loved children, Matthew and Autumn (Jennifer) Van Meter; his siblings, Barbara (Gerry) Jaworski, Sam Van Meter and Laura (Doug) Van Meter; nephews, Adam Van Meter and Wayne Jaworski; and nieces, Lauren, Sarah, Emma and Alexa Jaworski; as well as many other family members and friends.
A Celebration of Michael’s Life will be held in the future. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Michael’s name to Tour DesChutes, KWRX radio, or Central Oregon Community College Foundation.
Michael’s family thanks the wonderfully supportive caregivers at Partners in Care who worked so hard to allow Michael to spend his last few months with friends and family.