Michael Gene English, 58, of St. James City, passed away peacefully in his sleep Oct. 17, 2012. Born in Taylor, Mich., Feb. 1, 1954, his family moved first to Fort Myers and then to St. James City.
He attended North Fort Myers High School and later was employed as a heavy equipment operator on Pine Island building projects such as Lakewoods, which is today known as KOA campground. As a member of the Pine Island Volunteer Fire Department, he was studying to become an EMT when he was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a serious accident in Matlacha that left him confined to a wheelchair. In 1990 the injuries that he sustained in the accident caused him to undergo a hemicorporectomy, which resulted in his lower torso being amputated below his rib cage.
He was self-employed detailing automobiles and motorcycles and was one of the most sough- after landscapers on Pine Island. After Hurricane Charley ravaged Pine Island in 2004, he cleared fallen trees wielding a chain saw while laying prone on his chest on his four-wheel drive wheelchair platform so he could serve as a volunteer delivering food and ice in his adapted van to fellow island residents. He customarily volunteered to drive fellow islanders to and from medical appointments, CVS and Winn-Dixie. He was fiercely patriotic and inspired troops throughout the world who were in VA hospitals being treated for injuries involving the loss of a limb during the Vietnam conflict, Desert Shield, Dessert Storm and the Iraq/Afghanistan War. He truly loved every animal on earth especially his dogs Bear, Smokey and Cleo. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to either the Lee County Humane Society, the Make a Wish Foundation helping young children face their own medical afflictions or Builder's Care and all of their volunteers who worked so hard to adapt Michael's home so that he was able to happily live independently for so many years.
Michael Gene English
Mr. English is survived by his identical twin brother, Mark, of North Ft. Myers; brother, Steve, and sister-in-law Hope of North Fort Myers; sister, Pamela, and brother-in-law Mark McKay of St. James City; and brother, Gary, and sister-in-law Shelly Steinbrugge of Bokeelia; in addition to numerous other family members who all loved him dearly and cared for him.
He was the oldest person in the world to have survived the amputation that has a less than 10 percent survival rate, and the 77 major surgeries thereafter. He was always very grateful to every doctor, nurse, Hospice staff member, housekeeper, receptionist, EMT, firefighter, ambulance personnel, pharmacist, friend and neighbor who all worked tirelessly to insure his very high quality of life.
Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, at Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery, located at 1630 Pine Island Road, at the corner of Chiquita Boulevard in Cape Coral, followed by a celebration of Michael's life at the Greater Pine Island Elks Lodge 2781, 5630 Pine Island Road, N.W., Bokeelia.(Matlacha Pine Island Fire Station 1)