Michael Reid McMeekin, 74, of Lolo passed away on August 22, 2022 at The Living Center from complications following a stroke. He was under the care of hospice for declining health related to recent diagnosis including an autoimmune blood clotting disorder (Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a form of Parkinsonism and suspected result of toxic exposures during Vietnam.
Mike was born in Denver, CO on February 19, 1948 to Lois (Shriver) and Dale (Scotty) McMeekin. He attended school in Helena MT, graduating in 1965 from Helena High School. He spent four years in the US Air Force as a survival specialist, forward ops and special forces in Vietnam. After his service, Mike worked in the logging industry until a logging accident changed his path. He started his law enforcement career as a security officer at the Montana State Capitol, then the Montana Board of Crime Control.
Mike married the love of his life, Janice Marie Sullivan almost 51 years ago on September 19, 1971 in Helena. They resided in Libby MT when they welcomed two daughters - Shannon Lynette in 1973 and Erin Colleen in 1974. Mike became a deputy in Lincoln County MT in May of 1972, and was appointed sheriff in July of 1975. He was elected in the general election for a two-year term and was the youngest sheriff in the state of Montana at the time. Mike and Jan moved the family to Lolo MT in February of 1979, where he became a deputy sheriff for Missoula County. During his tenure, he worked on patrol, as a detective, reserve deputy coordinator, coroner, crisis negotiator, polygraph operator and training lieutenant. He spent decades as a guest instructor at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.
When the new Missoula Detention center opened in 1999, Mike was the Detention Division Captain. He was selected to be the Undersheriff and appointed to finish the term of retiring Sheriff Doug Chase in 2000. Mike was elected Sheriff in the 2002 and 2006 elections, serving ten years until his retirement in 2010. When elected, he became the first sheriff to hold that position in two different Montana counties.
Among his favorite pastimes outside of the regular duties of the Sheriff’s Office, Mike enjoyed working with the Deputy Reserves, Search and Rescue, and security for the betting windows at the Western Montana Fair horse races. He worked with the Forest Service during fire season, specializing in and publishing his evacuation protocol PopPro (Population Protection). He assisted in disaster efforts of all types, including support in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and the HazMat spill in Alberton.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Scotty and Lois McMeekin; infant brother David and sister Velma, “Rafter V”.
He is survived by his wife Jan at the family home in Lolo; daughter Shannon (Larry) White and their children Matt and Bre “Max” of Spokane WA; daughter Erin McMeekin in Lolo and her children Isaiah DeGarmo, Hannah (AJ) Miller of Spokane, and Ryan DeGarmo; sister Donna (Steve) Morgan in Belgrade MT, nephew Zade (Annabel) and their daughters Piper and Maeme; niece Abby (Wade) Schock and their children Wyatt, Walker and Winston; the extended Sullivan Clan and more friends than we could name.
The family would like to thank Missoula Medical Teams, Hospice of Missoula, The Living Center in Stevensville, and all those that cared for Mike. In lieu of flowers, they suggest donations to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Missoula County Search and Rescue, Reserve Deputies, Hospice or the organization of your choice.
A private family service will take place, followed by a Celebration of Life in Missoula - details to be determined. We love you, Grrumpa!