Mike, retired CEO of Williams Steel and Hardware in Minneapolis, died April 15, 2022, after a yearlong bout with cancer. He grew up in Excelsior, Minn., lived in the area most of his life, and left behind a vast record of contributions to its cultural and civic life.

Mike, whose father was a member of the Class of  ’31, came to us from the Blake School in Hopkins, Minn., where he was head of the student council, associate editor of the school paper, and a member of the Cum Laude Society. 

At Princeton, he majored in Slavic languages and literatures and wrote his thesis on the Soviet writer Mikhail Sholokhov. He was president of Dial Lodge. After graduation, he spent five years in the Air Force and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Vietnam.

Mike spent most of his working career at Williams Steel and Hardware, a family-owned company started by his great-grandfather in 1865. He retired in 1998 after engineering the company’s sale to the employees. 

Mike had a deep love of music, serving as treasurer and board chair of the Dale Warland Singers, a 40-voice professional choir recognized as one of the world’s foremost a cappella choral ensembles. He was president and board chair of the American Composers Forum, treasurer and board member of VocalEssence and Chorus America, and on the advisory committee of the University of Minnesota’s School of Music. He played the piano, guitar, and banjo, and for many years played bass in a bluegrass band.

Mike also served as treasurer and board chair of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, as well as president of the Encampment Forest Association and of the Amesbury West Homeowners Association.

Mike is survived by his wife of 39 years, Kay; daughters Carrie, Laura, and Sally Ackerman; and six grandchildren.

Undergraduate Class of 1963