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Michael Scott Gartland, 65

| February 14, 2024 2:00 AM

Michael Scott Gartland, beloved son, brother, uncle and friend, passed away at his home in Columbia Falls on February 1, 2024.  He was 65.

Born in Los Angeles, California to William and Faye Gartland on Sept. 13, 1958, Mike grew up in the L.A. area, graduating from Crespi High School in Encino in 1976.  The second of four kids, Mike was always the apple of his mother’s eye, his Grandma’s Golden Boy, and “Crazy Uncle Mikey” to his adoring nieces and nephews.  

As a teen he loved working on cars – especially VW “bugs” -- and eventually became an accomplished mechanic, launching the first of his many small businesses converting old VWs into dune buggies.  He was also a master pool and spa technician, operating successful businesses in Southern California and the Las Vegas area before moving to the Flathead Valley in 2010.

In between, Mike worked managing million-dollar properties in Las Vegas; he honed his cooking skills as a sous chef in a top L.A. steakhouse; he dabbled in concert promotion with his older brother; and packed into the Superstition Mountains of Arizona with a team of professional treasure hunters, searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine.  Here in the Flathead he worked at Celebrate Events and a number of hotel properties, most notable the Firebrand Hotel in Whitefish.

Mike was “McGyver” before there was a McGyver... there’s absolutely nothing that he couldn’t build (or fix) with a little bit of scrap lumber, a couple of hose clamps, some duct tape, PVC pipe and zipties.  His ways may have been a bit unorthodox -- like the time he was left alone with his infant niece Sammie, and taught her to crawl by stringing a trail of Cheerios across the living room floor – but they usually worked!

Mike loved the outdoors: camping, skiing, backpacking, and especially fishing.  He could be ornery, stubborn, sarcastic and politically incorrect, but he was also thoughtful, hard-working, honest, creative and funny-as-hell in an Archie Bunker sort of way... He truly enjoyed being a caricature of himself.  He loved making people laugh, and he was pretty darn good at it!  But above all, he loved his family, especially his nieces and nephews.

Mike was preceded in death by his mother Faye; he is survived by father William Gartland, brother Kevin (& Debbie) Gartland, sister Suzanne (& Jerry) Latsch, and sister Sharon Gartland (& Matt DiCecco).  He is also survived by nephews Will Gartland, Kelly (& Lauren) Stowe and Shane (& Jessie) Stowe; nieces Aimee (& Kim) Gartland, Jessie (& Dano) Spence, Kate (& Sam) Marchant and Samantha Gartland; and by seven great nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Mike Gartland’s life will be held this spring.  Arrangements are under the care of Columbia Mortuary.  Friends are invited to visit www.columbiamortuary.com to leave notes/condolences for the family.