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In Memory

Mike Gee

Mike Gee

photoCleveland singer and songwriter Michael Stanley Gee passed away peacefully at home on March 5th with his family by his side. He was 72 years old. Michael battled lung cancer for seven months with the same strength and dignity he carried throughout his life. He will always be remembered as a loving father, brother, husband, a loyal friend, and the leader of one of Cleveland's most successful rock bands. Michael is survived by his daughters, Anna Sary (Christian) and Sarah Sharp (Aaron); his sister, Nancy Oosterhoudt (Claire Kloss); his wife, Ilsa Glanzberg (Cole Sweeney); his five grandchildren, Mallory Sidoti (Mike), Aidan Kraus, Brody Kraus, Wren Sary and Phoebe Sary; and his faithful companion, Stevie Ray Dog. He is predeceased by his mother, Martha Fitzpatrick; his father, Stanley Gee; and his late wife, Denise Skinner. Born on March 25, 1948 in Cleveland, Ohio, he attended Rocky River High School where he played baseball and basketball. A baseball scholarship led him to Hiram College where he earned a BA in Sociology and Comparative Religion. Married to Libby Hill Blake in 1970, they welcomed twin daughters in 1974. Michael was a loyal and enthusiastic sport's fan of all things Cleveland, the city where he often lent support to charity organizations and foundations. His free time was spent writing and recording music in his home studio, enjoying a box of popcorn and movie at his local theater, and being a proud spectator at any event involving his grandchildren. He was legendary for his quick-wit and sarcasm and is remembered by his family for his huge hugs and spirited story telling. He approached life and all those he encountered with respect, acceptance, and an honest charm. High school was the start of his fifty-year career in music with the band The Scepters. College bands, The Establishment and The Tree Stumps, helped pay tuition while there. The Tree Stumps were renamed Silk, and they released "Smooth As Silk" with ABC Records. Two solo albums "Michael Stanley" and "Friends & Legends" in the early 70's led to the forming of The Michael Stanley Band in 1974. The band's breakthrough came when they signed with EMI Records and released a string of fan-favorite albums, "Heartland", "North Coast", "MSB", and "You Can't Fight Fashion". MSB still holds countless attendance records at The Front Row Theatre, Blossom Music Center, The Richfield Coliseum, the original Agora Ballroom, and most recently at MGM Northfield Park. Michael has continued to perform to sold-out crowds with Michael Stanley & the Resonators and Midlife Chryslers. He has released over 40 albums, and finishing touches were recently put on his latest album called "Tough Room", produced by his dear friend Bill Szymczyk. A well-known and beloved radio/television/musical personality in Northeast Ohio for the majority of his life, he is a member of the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, received eleven local Emmy awards during his time at Channel 8, co-hosted "PM Magazine" with Jan Jones from 1987-1990, has been a familiar voice over the airways at 98.5 WNCX Cleveland's Classic Rock for over 30 years, was presented with a Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, and recently had a section of Huron Avenue across from Playhouse Square renamed Michael Stanley Way by the city of Cleveland. Michael has been described as, "a solid midwestern guy who knew his roots and never forgot where he came from." Michael will be laid to rest at Lake View Cemetery. The service will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to the Cleveland Food Bank (www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org) and/or the Cleveland Animal Protective League (www.clevelandapl.org). Michael's family would like to thank Hospice of the Western Reserve for their dedicated care, his friends and extended family for being there, and his fans for their love and support during the past forty years. As he always said, "It's your world, pay attention." Online condolences www.diciccoandsonsfh.com

 
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03/06/21 11:43 PM #3    

Rupe Beckstett

Michael Stanley Gee arrived in Rocky River prior to the start of 5th grade...........we both attended Beach School......we both lived on Morewood Pkwy......his house near the tracks..........mine near Elmwood.  Mike was always into sports and his house soon boasted a magnificent basketball standard adjacent to the drive near the garage.  It was a "boy magnet" for the neighborhood gang........a million highly-contested games.  We did the "ball-room" dancing classes where we learned the art of "fast-walking".  We did the 5th and 6th grade Saturday Morning Basketball League at the high-school (Mike was an All-Star selection.)  We did Saturday Matinees at the Beach-Cliff Theater.  Mike and I participated in sports together well into our high school years.  Sometime during high school, Mike decided to pursue his two passions: music and baseball.  He excelled at both.  I spent the same period of time trying to avoid flunking French.  Our paths diverged when Mike went off to Hiram on a baseball scholarship.  

Today's TV broadcasts, radio shows, and "call-in" testimonials from his fans all celebrate Mike's amazing and successful career.  He was held in high esteem by his fans, his friends, and his co-workers.  At one of our reunions (the 30th?), we were at the CYC..........second floor........dinner / dance.  We had a band........Kelleman's group if I recall correctly.  At one point, Mike graciously joined them.......played lead guitar and sang a few songs.........was fabulous.  I had gone over to the cash bar in the corner........two CYC members were seated there having a drink.  A third member came up the stairs and joined them.  He asked what was going on..........."some high school reunion"........"which high school?".........."don't know....but they're really, really rich!"..........."Why do you say that?"..............."because they got the Michael Stanley Band playing for them!"  No, it was just Mike being Mike.

About three years ago, Rick Ludwin called me..........he was coming to town..........wanted to do lunch.........see if Ken Gandola and Mike would join us.  I suggested the Tic-Toc Tavern on Clifton near W117th.............close to downtown so Mike would have a short drive to work.........and not usually crowded.........better chance for Mike to enjoy his meal without being bothered.  The vinyl seats in the booths were still pre-war, and the food was perfect.........5-star by my standards.  And we were the only patrons in the dining area!.......a home-run.  We enjoyed a wonderful time eating and catching up.  About half-way through our meal, we saw a lady's head peaking around a pillar on the other side of the room.......staring at us.  She was a waitress in her 40's.  Mike waved her over.  She came over and immediately started apologizing...........didn't want to interrupt our lunch.........but she was a big fan.  Mike took her hand, smiled at her, and said "No need to apologize..........I need all the fans I can get!"  They chatted for several minutes when she broke it off saying "I've got to get back to work before I get yelled at."  She almost floated out of the room.

They say you can tell a lot about a person's character by the way they treat others.  That incident told me all I ever needed to know about Mike.  He was still just Mike being Mike.

Journey well-travelled 66er!

R.I.P.  


03/07/21 09:29 AM #4    

Bill Faup

Keep on rocking Mike, but when in doubt throw the heater old friend.


03/07/21 10:26 AM #5    

Tom Davis

I hate to see another of our classmates leaving us.

Prayers going out to the family.

 

 


03/07/21 12:21 PM #6    

Russ Elliott

Remember the dances in the gym wth this "start up group"--who new...Hate to hear about another class member

gone.Living here ,gone from Cleveland 50 yrs,except for an occasional visit, I heard more about Mike, [and his Big Time MSB]], 

thru our site and hearing him on Spotify. Didnt have the privelege of enjoying his company 1st hand since high school, but know he was

a great, humble guy who will b missed by Many--RIP, Mike, and Rock On with that Club Tour in the Sky!

 


03/07/21 12:26 PM #7    

Peggy Toman (Siegle)

Although I didn't know Mike well in high school, I loved hearing of his success in the subsequent years.  Reading more about him over these two days makes me know what a great, humble, caring person he was throughout his life.  I love reading about how he was able to do exactly what he wanted to do in the music world and how much he valued that experience.  I hope that all of the tributes I have read give comfort to his family at this time as they realize how really beloved he was by a whole city.


03/07/21 01:22 PM #8    

Mark Nickels

Great Story Rupp, thank you for sharing. 
Ken Gandola sent me a YouTube interview with Mike Gee. It's long but quite telling of the man and the CLE rock legend. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CUq861anNhI


 


 


03/07/21 01:29 PM #9    

Kathy Gressing (Owens)

That cute nice guy in home room that all the girls had a crush on ---turned sexy rocker. Always kind & down to earth. Our friend & classmate RRHS


03/07/21 02:06 PM #10    

Russ Elliott

Seeing alotta Mike on You Tube today, and all the Tributes pouring in. Never knew he was on AB; made Cleveland "more" famous. He will be Missed by many. Again, Mike, RIP!


03/07/21 05:15 PM #11    

Debby Duffy (Young)

I do remember what great friends Rupe was with Mike in Beach School sixth grade.  Our Girl Scout troop was going to Washington DC

in the spring and my mother bought me these hideous 'walking shoes' and made me wear them to school to break them in.  I thought

I would never hear the end of the teasing from those two!  

I am confused about the obits, however.  They mention his first wife, mother of the twins, and his predeceased wife, but not Mary 

McCrone.  She was a producer for House Hunter's International and the daughter of local Judge McCrone and his wife Marilyn.

She picked up a very bad lower GI bug in South America and died from it.  I thought they had married, but perhaps not.....anyone 

know?   Thanks


03/10/21 11:45 AM #12    

Lou Caravella

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Michael Stanley Gee as all of the rest of our classmates have been expressing.  Rupe's tribute to him was wonderful and I won't try to add to it other than to express one thought:  Over the years, Cleveland has had some rough ups and downs but Mike added to a wonderful tradition of Rock 'n Roll in our fair city and he helped lift the spirits of our town.  He was a wonderful ambassador of our terrific city and he will be missed by all of his friends and fans alike.  May he rest in peace.


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