|Birth: ||Mar. 22, 1949|
|Death: ||Jun. 5, 2009|
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Gene Michaels, longtime radio personality and born entertainer passed away in a Lake Charles hospital after having been diagnosed with Leukemia just last month. His official time of death was pronounced at 12:30 a.m. Friday, June 5, 2009.
Gene was the Program Director at KKGB, Rock 101.3, Cumulus Broadcasting in Lake Charles, La. Gene and his wife, Patty moved to Lake Charles in 2005 when he took a position at Apex Broadcasting as the Program Director of KNGT, Gator 99.5.
To most people that knew Gene Michaels, he was larger than life, born for radio and entertaining, a natural comedian and a treasured friend.
Gene was born in Milwaukee, Wis. At 14, he started playing drums for a band. During the following 10 years he completed school and attended college studying business and marketing while commuting back and forth to play with the band in night clubs. Gene enjoyed music and the entertainment business immensely and was a natural with a mic in his hand.
Gene's first radio job was at WOKY, a Top 40 Rock station in Milwaukee. After three years he went to WCFL in Chicago, then to WGST in Atlanta and ended up in Chattanooga at WGOW in 1975 where he worked as program director and for a while as general manager. He worked for WDOD which was top 40 but later made the switch to country in 1980, and that's when "Michaels in the Morning" became a wake up ritual for so many people as they started their day, and now a lifetime legend. In 1983 Gene started at WUSY, US101 where he continued the "Michaels in the Morning" Show. Beth Greene later joined US101 as Gene's Co-host. Gene was known as the "wise guy", and was very well known and loved in the Chattanooga area. Many people will remember "Michaels Music Machine" which kept Gene busy in the evenings playing for all kinds of events in the area. Gene always had several irons in the fire, and owned several businesses through the years.
After leaving Chattanooga, he worked at WITV and WMIL in Milwaukee, Wisc. He was later with WBUB, "The Big Bubba" in Charleston, SC, and from there went to WBBN, B95 in Laurel/Hattiesburg, Miss. Gene was well known in the Pine Belt area along with Allyson Scott with their Breakfast Club Morning Show. Gene and Allyson were named Radio Personalities of the Year in 1997. Gene also hosted a local television show, "Around Town", and did the weather on WDAM in Laurel, Miss.
Gene and Patty have made such wonderful friends in the Lake Charles area since moving to Louisiana in 2005. Gene helped many people through the airwaves during the rough times of Hurricanes Rita & Gustav. He has been involved with so many aspects of the community and will be dearly missed by his audience, coworkers, and friends.
Over the next few months, Gene's wife will be adding information, pictures and stories to Gene's website. For a man who said he had "done it all", it is impossible to list every accomplishment and endeavor of his life here. What can be said is this: If you knew Gene Michaels in any capacity, he made an impact on your life, he made you laugh, and you will always remember him with a smile, even if accompanied by tears of sadness over such a great loss to this world. His favorite movie was "It's a Wonderful Life", and that's the way his wife would like for him to be remembered, for it was such a wonderful life.
Gene is survived by his wife, Patty Sims Michaels, of Lake Charles, La.; his stepdaughter, Crystal Williams, of Pensacola, Fla.; sisters, Karen Barlow and husband, Buzz, of San Diego, Calif., Marlene Null and husband, Bill, of Milwaukee, Wis.; brothers, Dennis Cooney, of Honolulu, Hawaii, Bob Cooney and wife Anna, of Kerrville, Texas, and Donald Krystowiak and wife, Nancy, of Putnam Station, N.Y.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 13, 2009, in the Johnson Funeral Home Chapel in Lake Charles, La. A gathering of friends Saturday will be held from 1 p.m. until the time of service.
A donation account has been set up by friends and family. Memorial donations may be made to the name of "The Gene Michaels' Family" at any Chase Bank.
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Created by: Glenda Rowland
Record added: Jun 10, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38156583