Michael James Gaitens passed away July 21, 2015 after battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He was born in Danville, IL in 1940 to Tom and Flossie Gaitens. Like his grandfather James, he was mechanically inclined, and at age 21, he graduated from Tri-State University with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. His first job in 1961 was with North American Aviation learning how to operate the company’s new IBM mainframe computer. It was the beginning of many years of writing custom code to analyze and solve engineering problems. He was well-known for his messy workspaces, his fondness for Car Talk, and his sense of humor; a computer program he labored for over two years to write, he titled “Dynamic Analysis of Multibody Networks”-"so that he could legitimately refer to it as “the DAMN program.” Throughout his life, he was an authority on all things electrical and mechanical, spending many weekends and vacations fixing cars, appliances, computers and software for people he knew well and those he didn’t. He enjoyed instilling a love of math and physics in his children and grandchildren and was ever-ready to help with homework, with his pipe and mechanical pencil in hand. After retirement, he helped his children in their businesses and worked to advance FORTRAN into a new generation.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years Judi (nee Dolesh), by children Judy Carole (Ken) Arneson, Tom (Julie) Gaitens, Joseph (Robin) Gaitens, by grandchildren Micaela, Mike and Sam Arneson, Joseph Gaitens and Katherine Gaitens, by brother Dan (Janice) Gaitens, by nephews Stephen and Andrew, and extended family and close friends. We will remember him for his rugged individualism, his dry wit, his incredible inventiveness when it came to cheating at Pictionary, and his love. He is dearly missed.
The family will receive friends at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Road, Cary, on Friday, July 31, 2015 from 6-8pm with a prayer service at 7:30pm.
A mass will be held 11:00am Saturday, August 1, 2015 at Saint Andrew's Catholic Church, 3008 Old Raleigh Road, Apex.
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In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Lymphoma Research Foundation, 115 Broadway, Suite 1301, New York, NY 10006, www.lymphoma.org.
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