In memoriam T. S. Michael
T. S. (Scott) Michael
Jan. 15, 1960 -Nov. 22, 2016
Passed away peacefully at home, following a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind his mother, Anita Studen, brother Steven Michael, niece Savannah Michael and step-father Ronald Studen. Also step-sister Candace Cradeur, step-brother Peter Studen, and extended family. His father, Robert Michael, predeceased him in 2004.
Christened Scott Michael at birth, he changed his name years later to T. S. Michael.
T.S. grew up in Novato where he attended public schools, soon developing a life-long passion for mathematics. Following graduation from Novato High school, he majored in math at Cal Tech, where he graduated with honors in 1983. Five years later, he earned his doctorate degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
T. S. discovered that he especially loved teaching math, and eventually spent 26 very happy and satisfying years as an Associate Math Professor at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, having to leave when on December 9, 2015, he received his sudden, devastating cancer diagnosis. He returned to Novato in January of 2016 to be with family while receiving treatment at UCSF.
During T.S.'s years at the Academy, he developed many enduring friendships with colleagues and students, which he deeply treasured. During the whole time as he fought his illness, so many of these friends kept in touch with him and through countless beautiful gestures, showed him how very much they cared. They were a big source of his courage and strength, maintaining regular contact through Emails, cards and letters. Some even made the trip to come visit him in person.
Demonstrating the high esteem in which he was held, in April, the math department nominated him for a Navv
Meritorious Civilian Service Award. When T. S. did win the award. and it was clear that he would not be able to travel back to the Academy for the awards ceremony, his math colleagues arranged to send a U.S. Marine to our home to formally present it to him in person. This Navy Citation states that he was granted this award for distinguishing himself as an outstanding teacher and scholar. It also recognizes that T.S. had served as an informal swimming coach and mentor to numerous midshipmen, and that he mentored more than 50 midshipmen who went on to serve in special operations, several of them in leadership positions at the highest levels. The award also states that T.S. served as the founding coach of the Naval Academy's triathlon team and as the faculty representative for the water polo team.
The award goes on to say that T.S. was an accomplished and inspiring communicator, citing the math book he wrote which has been lauded by critics and translated from English into Japanese. It further mentions that in 2012, T. S. won the Mathematical Association of America's George Polya Award for expository excellence, one of just two such awards male nationwide that year. For all the foregoing the Navy Citation Out "T. S.'s professionalism, tireless service, and commitment to midshipmen and the United States Naval reflected great credit upon himself and the faculty and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Developing and working on math research projects, often with various math colleagues, was something which gave T. S. so much pleasure. All during his illness he continued to maintain contact with his research partners, and even prepared papers for submission to Math journals for possible publication. It was especially satisfying when he saw one of these papers published in the October, 2016 issue of a prestigious Math journal. He was able to share and celebrate this through Emails with that research partner.
During his illness and treatments T. S. always expressed how grateful and fortunate he felt for the excellent care he was given all along the way. At UCSF, his oncologist; Dr. Ko, directed his care, along with his amazing assistants, Angela, Elizabeth and Anna. T. S.'s radiation therapy was carefully directed by radiation oncologist; Dr. Anwar. We were so impressed by the caring and professionalism of all of the staff of both the chemo infusion center and of the radiation department. They all made him feel so special with their understanding and caring ways.
In Novato, T.S. was under the care of our family physician, Dr. Stephen Welter, who monitored his progress from the beginning, and eventually signed him on to Sutter Health Care at Home. Again, this team worked together to care for T.S.'s needs, making him as comfortable as possible during increasingly difficult times. The team gradually facilitated his transition to Sutter Hospice Care, when he felt that he was ready. As his mother, brother, niece and step-father, we all felt we had such wonderful help and support, both practically and emotionally from this invaluable organization.
Having TS. at home during all this time, we, his family, feel truly blessed that we were able to care for him and really be there for him to let him know how very much he was loved. He and his niece, Savannah, were able to develop a closer relationship, as he took great satisfaction in learning that she also has a very keen interest in math. He could see himself in her, and he enjoyed having her share 8th and then 9th grade math homework with him.
As T. S. remains in our hearts, we will always miss his kindness, generosity and beautiful spirit.