I met Mike in 2005 when I sold an MM to him. It was pouring down rain and I offered for him to stay but he just wrapped that game like I've never seen anything wrapped and headed out. I went to his house later that year and that's when I realized what a nice collection could look like...it was like being in a museum. Every game was pretty much perfection. He was also a really good player. He took a lot of pride in everything he did and was always helping someone with something.
Every time I went over his place I always stayed an hour or two longer than I had planned and wouldn't have had it any other way. Most people know him as the chrome guy, but you could probably count on one hand the people in the hobby that could restore games as well as him. He had a crazy eye for detail and was an absolute perfectionist. He also had great feel for tuning in a game just right. He didn't do restores a whole lot though...he only liked to work on big projects during the winter and would ride the rest of the year. I loved his stories about riding. He had some CRAZY ones. I was in the car with him recently for 18 hours and he pretty much told stories the whole time and the trip flew by.
He wouldn't have wanted to die any other way. I heard him talk about it several times. He knew all the risks, but to him riding WAS living. When you got him talking about riding he would light up and get real animated and lean and make sounds as he described what it was like.
He finished this MM for me several months ago. I never planned on selling it and will absolutely not sell it now. He liked to drop games off in person. He said it was because he didn't want anyone messing up his work. That was part of it, but I think he also wanted to soak in the enjoyment and reaction of the person he was doing the work for. If you paid him by the hour, you'd be broke. He poured himself into these and it was really important that he knew you loved it too. He asked me a couple of times what Sarah thought about it (my wife) because she wasn't home when he dropped it off. I told him she said she didn't even recognize it, it looked like and played better than a new game. It cracked me up that he had the inspected by Mike sticker right below the restored by Mike. He was one of a kind.
God Speed Mike.