Friday, March 4, 2011

NoMi Resident Michael Spivak Mourned, His Cat Still Needs A Home...


Photos and blog post by John Hoff

Members of a tight circle of neighborhood revitalizers in the Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Michael Spivak, a home owner who often joined social events around the Jordan Pond and was known to be very passionate about gay activist causes. Indeed, one member of the gay community who lives in Jordan remarked, "Mike was at every gay event I ever attended."

Mike was found dead in his home after being out of touch with friends for a few days. A news article that ran in his home town of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, click here, said the cause of death is still unknown but there were no apparent signs of foul play or suicide or any obvious indications of why he had died. For a couple of days questions were swirling about what had happened. It is only small, cold comfort to know there was no violence that took Spivak's life. North Minneapolis has still lost a one-man force of revitalization. Spivak was known to comment on this blog, sometimes, and often shared with me how he would not hesitate to call 311 or 911. He was one of the folks helping to turn this place around. He will be missed, quirks and all.

This blog recalls Spivak as a man who...

...loved the social events in NoMi, whether it was a picnic, party, or just sitting around in a home or bar talking about issues of the day and enjoying a beverage. Spivak once proudly showed me his lovely home, expressing gratitude to his parents for helping him to obtain it. I noticed that a bookshelf filled with DVDs contained about every piece of cinema related to gay or sexual identity topics that you could find in any mainstream video store. He was nothing if not passionate about the right of gay people to be themselves.

Spivak was working in various law-related jobs, and putting forth effort to get his bar license. He had one dog, and one cat. The dog, named "Bear," found a home (after a short stay at a shelter) with somebody named "Lou" who apparently lives in North Minneapolis and runs in a park around here. The cat, named Eaton, still needs a home. He is currently in a "foster home."

Here is a link with information about the cat which was apparently set up by Spivak.


Michael, if you can get this message you are loved and missed. A part of you will always be a part of us as we press our battle to create an urban utopia of diversity, prosperity, and ecological balance here in NoMi. We shall raise a glass from time to time and say, "To Mike." Your gay brothers and sisters will always be welcome in our homes and our hearts just in the way you dreamed of, and constantly advocated for. You taught us a lot in your short time with us, and we won't forget you.

I won't say goodbye to you, Mike. I will only say, "See you later."

(Musical homage to Mike)

8 comments:

Chriss Reichow said...

Loved Mike in Homewood, too! Fire pit will be one short. Definitely a place we'll raise one in his honor.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI...Lou is a female on the North side not male individual.

Johnny Northside! said...

I will take what you say as possibly true. That reference in the post has been changed to gender-neutral.

Lou said...

Hi, I'm the Lou who has taken in Mike's dog Bear and not that it's important but, yes, I'm a woman. Besides being friends and co-activists, we traded dog sitting and he'd bring Bear over for doggie play dates with my two dogs. Bear is settling in well but runs to the door whenever anyone comes over; I think he's waiting for Mike to pick him up.
Mike will be sorely missed.

Lou said...

Hi, I'm the Lou that has adopted Mike's dog Bear, and it's not that important but yes, I'm a woman. My partner and I haved lived in NoMi 17 years with our kids and pets. Bear is settling in but misses Mike, as do we all.

Anonymous said...

I am an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio and I went to law school with Mike. We organized numerous LGBT events together at the school. I was shocked to read "the late Michael Spivak" in a March 18, 2011 Cleveland Plain Dealer article entitled "Two law students get $1.1 million verdict." Mike worked on the case during his time at the law clinic and it's the largest verdict obtained in the history of the clinic. The case involved a Cleveland family that was ripped off in a home repair and financing scheme. It's wonderful to see them get justice and comforting to know that Mike is still helping people.

Mike, you will be missed for your passion, your compassion, your empathy and general joie de vivre. Rest peacefully, knowing how much good you brought to so many people.

Erin

Johnny Northside! said...

I regret the need to post this information, but this blog is emphatic in its goal of only printing the truth or, at the very least, something that is opinion and not objectively provable as true or false.

Definitive and believable information came into my hands tonight that Mike Spivak did, in fact, die by his own hand.

Anonymous said...

If it's the truth..post the source and the facts - such as the death certificate