Michael Allen Simonsen, age 64 of Washington, passed away on July 11, 2021.
Michael was born on November 6, 1956 to Troy and Myrna Simonsen in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. As a young boy in the early 1960’s, Michael moved to Michigan with his family. He attended Wayne State University, where he majored in music. Music was an important part of his life, and Michael mastered many instruments including the saxophone, flute, and keyboards. His talents he was able to showcase regularly in the many bands that he played with over the years. Michael was extremely creative, talented, and had the eye for design. He worked many years as an award-winning landscape designer, where he used his talents to his full ability.
In the early 1990s, Michael met the love of his life and future bride, Irene Sulewski. Together they shared many beautiful years together, and countless memories. Michael raised one child, Jan-Michael Simonsen whom he adored. He was overjoyed to become a grandfather later in his life to his beloved grandchildren, Anthony and Alyssa.
Michael was also an accomplished astronomer, a citizen-scientist of the first order. He was particularly devoted to the science of variable stars, devoting thousands of hours under the night sky to observing them, and more thousands of hours analyzing and publishing his research, promoting science to the general public, and working behind the scenes to improve the tools of the trade. He authored nearly 50 professional papers in astronomical journals. He was particularly interested in a class of eruptive variable stars called Z Cam stars, and his research on them resulted in his being awarded, in 2015, the American Astronomical Society's Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award for exemplary research by an amateur astronomer. Other honors garnered by Mike include the American Association of Variable Star Observers Director’s Award in 2005, the British Astronomical Association’s Charles Butterworth Award in 2011, and the Astronomical League’s Leslie Peltier Award in 2012. In 2014, the International Astronomical Union formally named asteroid 367732 “Mikesimonsen” in his honor, the citation for which reads, “Mike Simonsen (b. 1956) is a talented musician, an accomplished horticulturalist, a popularizer of astronomy, and a leader in the study of variable stars.”
Throughout Michael’s life, there was nothing that he could not do. He was a person who followed his dreams and lived his life to the fullest. Everything he was passionate about, he mastered.
He will be forever remembered in the hearts of all who loved him.
Beloved husband of Irene Simonsen; cherished father of Jan-Michael (Nicole) Simonsen; proud Grandpa Mike of Anthony, and Alyssa; loving son of Myrna Simonsen; dear brother of Steve (Janet) Simonsen, and Doug Simonsen. He is also survived by many dear nieces, nephews, family, and friends.
Michael was preceded in passing by his dear father Troy Simonsen, and brother Dale Simonsen.
Visitation to take place on Friday, July 23rd from 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Funeral service to take place on Saturday, July 24th at the funeral home. Gathering time, is at 10:00 AM. Service at 11:00 AM.
To send flowers to Michael's family, please visit our floral store.