|Birth: ||Jul. 21, 1948|
|Death: ||May 11, 2005|
W. Michael "Mike" Bliss Dies at 56
W. Michael "Mike" Bliss, a longtime member of the Westport business community and active and dedicated community volunteer, died Wednesday, his family said today. He was 56.
"Mike will be fondly remembered as a loving husband, a devoted father, and an active and dedicated member of the Westport community where he resided for the last 25 years," a family statement said. "He was a successful and generous businessman, a respected leader and teacher, and a treasured friend to many."
Son of Mrs. Jane Bliss and Dr. William Bliss, Mike Bliss was born in 1949 in Ames, Iowa. He attended Iowa State University on a football scholarship and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School in 1974 after serving in the U.S. Army.
A longtime member of the Westport business community, he was affiliated with the financial planning firm Westport Resources Management, Inc. since 1986, first as an investment advisor agent, and since 1987 as a portfolio manager.
In 1994, he became the firm�s director of managed accounts and in 2001 he assumed part equity ownership along with John Adams Vaccaro, the firm�s president and chief executive officer.
Prior to Westport Resources, Bliss was a grain and commodities trader for the Louis Dreyfus Corp. In 1982 he founded W. Michael Bliss Investment Management. He also researched and wrote for a nationally-published stock newsletter.
Fulfilling his love of teaching, Bliss served as an assistant professor of finance at Western Connecticut State College in Danbury from 1984 to 1990.
Bliss was dedicated to serving his Westport community through his role as treasurer of the Westport Arts Center and former treasurer of the Westport Education Foundation. He was also coach of many of children�s sports team and enjoyed jogging.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryl, of 23 years, and his children, Timothy, Lindsay and Erin.
A memorial service and reception will take place on Wednesday, May 18 at 2:30 p.m at the Greens Farms Congregational Church, 71 Hillandale Road, Westport.
Donations may be sent to the William R. Bliss Cancer Center, c/o MGMC Foundation, 1111 Duff Ave., Ames, IA 50010 or Westport Arts Center, 51 Riverside Ave., Westport, CT 06880.
Bliss was a standout student athlete at Ames High. At Iowa State, he played for Coach Johnny Majors and was named to the All Big Eight Team and received NCAA Academic All-America honors. He graduated from ISU in 1970 with a degree in distributive studies.
Bliss is also survived by a brother, Dr. David Bliss of San Francisco, Calif., and sister Dr. Carolyn Bliss of Salt Lake City, Utah.
A three-sport letterman at Ames High, Bliss was an honor student and combination quarterback and fullback for head coach Cecil Spatcher.
He was also a guard on coach George Duvall's state tourney basketball team of 1966, a shot-putter and discus thrower for track coach Hi Covey. He was also a summer employee of Bliss Construction Company who sledge-hammered concrete as hard as he nailed defensive linemen later for Iowa State.
When Bliss graduated from Iowa State in May of 1970, he was honored at "Mike Bliss Day" and received the key to the city by then Ames Mayor, Lee Fellinger.
Weeks later, he was inducted into the U.S. Army and bound for Vietnam as a combat infantryman, or so he believed.
Bliss was honored for his all around outstanding college career and for being a stand-up draftee when it wasn't easy or popular to be one.
Bliss was known as a tough, smart starting offensive guard for the Cyclones and a terrific college student with an NCAA Academic All-American scholarship to Harvard Business School.
Small for the Big Eight at the time at just 6-feet and 215 pounds, Bliss had made his mark knocking down defensive linemen 60 pounds heavier throughout his career.
Bliss had already been named to the All Big Eight football team as an offensive guard in addition to the NCAA Academic All-American award.
In his only TV interview after being named to the Big Eight Team in the fall of 1969, WOI-TV sports anchor Frank Schneider pointed out that Bliss wasn't especially big, not that strong and not as fast as other offensive linemen named to the team.
Bliss said that was true. Schneider asked if he was hoping to be drafted by an NFL team in spite of his size. Bliss said he was planning to be drafted, but by the U.S. Army, as soon as he graduated, and he was.
Slated to become a combat infantryman in Vietnam, Bliss completed advanced infantry training and his unit instead was deployed to Alaska for two years. Just below the Arctic Circle, Bliss's company commander discovered that the Harvard-business-bound private could run admin as well as he punched the blocking sled for ISU.
Bliss was the third member of the family to serve in the Army, following after his father Dr. William Bliss, an army surgeon during World War II, and uncle, Capt. Robert Bliss, a forward artillery observer.
So, Bliss served his country with a typewriter instead of his standard-issue M-16 and learned to ski, according to his sister Carolyn Bliss of Salt Lake City, Utah.
After completing his two-year hitch, Bliss enrolled at Harvard in 1972 and completed his MBA. He was drafted again, this time by Louis Dreyfus Company, an international commodities trading company where he worked for eight years.
Bliss left Dreyfus in 1982 to become a registered financial advisor, continuing on that career path until his death.
A memorial service in Ames is being planned for late June or early July.
Created by: edh
Record added: Apr 28, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19125917
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