Mike Mading passed away from complications of a stroke in Missoula, MT on June 26, 2022. He was born April 3rd, 1954 in the same Missoula hospital where he would pass 68 years later.
Mike came from a long line of athletes on both sides of his family. One of his highlights as a young athlete came at the age of 10 when he won the sectional competition for Punt, Pass & Kick. The prize was an all-expense paid trip to Minneapolis where he and his Dad watched the Minnesota Vikings play the Detroit Lions. Complete with a visit to the locker room at half time to meet all the players- what a thrill!
Mike went on to attend Billings Senior High School where he excelled in football and basketball, but baseball was his true love. He earned a position on the Billings Scarlets (the B team at the time) as a 15-year-old and played for the Billings Royals for 3 years. The Royals won the Montana state championship in 1970 & 1971, advancing to the regional championship game both years.
The Billings American Legion baseball program has been very important to the Mading family over the years. Mike’s brother, Mark Mading and Mike’s son, Ryne Mading, both came through the program. Mike viewed playing baseball for coach Ed Bayne as a privilege and the valuable life lessons learned during this time were many. The most important lesson he learned while playing for the Royals was simple: Evaluate performance- separating the good from the bad, apply the good to your game and always move forward. Mike would apply this lesson throughout his life as he became ‘The King’ of simple advice- ‘Work hard and good things will happen’ was his solution to just about any problem or concern- and he was right.
After legion baseball came to an end, Mike earned a full ride scholarship to play baseball for the University of Wyoming. He would graduate from Montana State University with a Political Science degree in 1978.
Mike had many interests to bring him joy: Watching well-played baseball and live Jazz, spending time with family and friends, playing in the mountains near the family ranch and of course, he was happy wherever and whenever he had a fishing pole in his hand. One of Mike’s most recent and cherished trips was a fishing expedition to Venice, LA where he, his son Ryne, brother Mark and cousin Brad spent the days chasing Redfish and the evenings catching up on each other’s lives and reminiscing. It was the trip of a lifetime.
Mike and his wife, Paula, were married for 31 years and had many adventures during their time together. Often, they found pure happiness in remote locations near warm water and sandy beaches. (Mike, your Speedo is on backwards!)
Mike was a wonderful husband, father, brother, son, grandfather and friend. He made connections everywhere he went and would know as much about the waiter by the end of a meal as most people know about their spouse. He took a genuine interest in people and was never quick to judge. He will be greatly missed by those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Wally and Fran. He has one son from a previous marriage, Ryne (Amber), two adorable grandchildren, Madison and Ben who live in Missoula, MT. His brother Mark (Vicki) Mading lives in Huntley, MT and sister, Mary Mading lives in Billings, MT.
Mike’s wish was to be cremated and a private service will be held in the fall.