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Obituary for Michael J. Havens


Mike Havens – My Life, My Story ----- I was born in the city of La Crosse and when I was about three, my parents moved to Bangor. I went to Christian Day School and then I went to Luther High School in Onalaska, where I graduated. My childhood was probably just like any other kid. I played ball, went swimming, fishing and hunting. I enjoyed watching the Packers at that time because they were the top team until Vince Lombardi left. have three younger brothers and we all stick together well. My mom and dad raised us to be a together family and taught us manners. We weren't a poor family, but money was hard to come by sometimes. At Christmas time we only got two gifts; one was an actual gift and the other was clothing, but we were tickled pink to get that. It wasn't easy growing up, but we accepted the fact that it was the way it was. I joined the Navy in 1969 and went to boot camp at Great Lakes. From there I went to San Diego and I really enjoyed it there. I really enjoyed the Navy because there were all different kinds of people from all over and I got along quite well with people. I also enjoyed learning new stuff and I experienced a lot. On a couple of the ships I was on, I was the foreign communicator. In other words, I was the one who went out to greet the foreigners and say a few words. I was on a lot of ships. I started out on the USS Hopewell. From there I went to the USS Samuel Gompers, which was a tender ship and we'd go different places and assist smaller ships. I was sent to Da Nang, Vietnam. I wound up in action with the Army and Marines. I engaged in a firefight. I had one guy one side of me and another on the other side of me that were shot and killed. I was scared, I don't even know if that's the right word; it was very treacherous. I also participated in bringing the wounded to the sickbay onboard the ship. Some were so bad that they never made it and left this world. It was quite an experience in Vietnam for me. I was there for approximately eight months. I was then transferred to the Philippines where I met a young gal and I just fell in love. We got married in 1972 and were married for quite a few years. We had two daughters that were born in 1974 and 1978. I got transferred here and there and they would come along with me. One of the better places was Pearl Harbor, we just loved it there. It was expensive, but we were compensated for it. We did whatever we could to be together because there were times I would be out for six months or longer. I was then transferred back to San Diego. I was onboard the USS Dixie, which was the same type of ship as the USS Samuel Gompers. In the meantime, there were cruises in there and missing my family for 6-7 months at a time. It was hard on them and on me and it did affect them, but that's service life. I experienced a lot in the Navy. I was a baker, a cook, the ships store operator; I can't think of all the stuff I did. I decided to become a postal clerk. After I became a postal clerk, I was transferred to the USS Hull. While on there I achieved a couple merit awards for my outstanding work. I went to other ships to assist other postal clerks that were just starting out. From there I was transferred to the Training Support Center in Great Lakes and was in charge of the postal care for the entire base. I had a pretty good time there. I was sent to the East Coast, which was kind of a new experience for me. I was sent to a ship, but I don't remember the name of it because I wasn't on there for very long when they discovered they had given me the wrong orders. I wound up on the USS Trenton and was on that ship for five years when retired from the service. I was an E-S when I got out after 21 years. I could have been a lot higher if I had settled down in the beginning, but I wanted to learn everything I could so I didn't really think about the fact of studying and making that next grade. This may come as a shock to people, but I wasn't concerned about how much money I was making. I was experiencing and learning a lot. I knew that someday it would come in as a beneficial factor for me and I'm glad I learned everything I did. While I was on the USS Trenton, my wife and I had our differences and we wound up getting a divorce, but I was able to retain custody of my daughters. My daughters came to Bangor to live with their grandma until I retired, which was eight months later. I returned to Bangor with my girls. After high school, both of my daughters moved to Madison and got good jobs. We are a very close together family. However, in 2015, I experience something that was a very big shock to me and I haven't been the same since. My youngest daughter landed a job at the Marriott Hotel in Madison and she was so happy. During the two weeks that she was there, she called me a couple of times telling me how wonderful it was for her. One day she didn't show up for work and her co-workers got ahold of her landlord, who got ahold of the police and they entered her apartment. At the age of 37, she was found dead in bed. An autopsy was done and it revealed her heart just stopped. She was in excellent condition, excellent health and she was a happy go-lucky girl, but I guess when it's your time, it's your time. I tell a lot of people to enjoy your children while you can because you'll never know when they're going to be taken from you. We are not in control, God is. It's hard to explain, but shortly after that I started getting sick more and started having heart problems. I wound up having pain in my body just below my chest and I went through a lot of test at Gundersen Lutheran and they discovered that my left kidney was cancerous. I went through an operation and it took awhile for me to recover from that. I wasn't home very long when I wound up getting blood clots in my legs and I wound up back in the hospital. I've been going downhill. I'm hoping the doctors are wrong because they told me that I have six weeks to live. I've been at the VA for four weeks now. I feel a lot better now and my goal is to prove the doctors wrong. It's up to the Lord when he wants to take me, but I'm ready to go. The Lord is the ruler, he's the healer. It's up to him what goes on. Whatever is going to happen, it's going to happen when he wants it to happen and hopefully he's on my side, which I believe he is. I believe I'll be in this world for awhile yet. My goal is to hopefully go back home to live with my mom until I find my own place. I had to live with her before I went into the hospital because the place I was in caught on fire. The landlord was supposed to had fixed the electrical problems, but he kept putting it off. Once I leave here, I'll go to my moms and then look for a place to live. I suppose I have to find an assisted living place because I'm going to need a little help, but not a whole lot. That is all in the upcoming future. My daughter and son-in-law come to visit me when they can and they are both a big inspiration. They live in Madison. I don't have any grandchildren. My brothers are still around and come to visit me. My younger brother lives with my mother, along with his grandson; my great-nephew. I spend a lot of my time with my great-nephew. Next month, he will become a teenager and he can't wait. A lot of my time and enjoyment is with him. It's going pretty good here at the Tomah VA. I've been progressing and hopefully I can continue to progress. By doing more than before, it gives me a chance to get out with people and talk with them. For a quite a few years, I was night security watchman at the La Crosse Interstate Fairgrounds. I was in charge of making sure everything was locked and secured, it was a big responsibility. I met a lot of people and they were thankful of the stuff I did and how I took care of their animals. I made really good friends and in fact they've come to visit me. I'll tell you, one can't have better friends than them. I love Western movies and shows. My favorite is Roy Rogers. I've collected anything and everything that I could with Roy Rogers from books to collector plates, anything I could find, I have a trunk full of stuff. I like his saying: Goodbye, good luck and may the good Lord take a liking to you.