Michael Lee McMath was born August 17, 1951, to Shirley (Bailey) and Robert McMath in Mount Ayr, Iowa. Michael graduated from Clearfield High School in 1969 and attended college at Northwest Missouri State University and Rutgers University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Michael apprenticed with a master sculptor and later participated in advanced art training at Yale University. He created four bronze sculptures, one of which was purchased by and exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The other pieces became part of private collections.
Michael shared his life with Susan Fontaine for fifteen years. He particularly enjoyed traveling with Susan. They eventually made their way to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. Michael fell in love with Nova Scotia, spending hours walking in the woods and forming firm friendships with the local people. Michael was known throughout the Cape Breton Island area as “The Mushroom Man”. Michael loved giving gifts to others; one way he did so was to find out what kind of mushroom someone liked and then take those particular mushrooms to them. He missed Nova Scotia deeply during the winters in the US and worked hard to return each summer.
As Michael’s health declined, he moved back to Iowa, residing in Red Oak. He formed several deep friendships, persons who supported him during his health struggles. With his friends Michael was known for his quirky sense of humor and his generosity to those in need. He was always there for friends experiencing a crisis, spending hours to give support to them as needed.
Michael passed away on August 4, 2020, at his home in Red Oak at the age of 68. He is preceded in death by his grandparents: Merrill and Agnes Bailey, and Leland and Edna McMath.
Michael is survived by his parents, Robert and Shirley McMath of Lenox, Iowa; and sister and brother-in-law, Monica and Kevin Crouch of Red Oak, Iowa. He was especially fond of his nephews and niece: Ben Crouch of Kansas City, Missouri; Alex (Alyssa) Crouch and great-nephew, Barrett, of Baldwin City, Kansas; Bailey (Aric) Bostwick of El Paso, Texas.
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