Joseph “Mitch” Michaud (1928-2013)

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Joseph “Mitch” Michaud (February 12, 1928-May 2, 2013) who was the second person to complete all 50 states when he did it on December 4, 1970, passed at his family home in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The passing was only noted in the climbing community in July 2013 when the Mazamas organization in Oregon noted it in its July newsletter and when John Mitchler announced it at the 2013 Highpointers convention also in July at its Maine convention. Ironically the Maine convention site was near signs pointing to the “Michaud Trail” Michaud was born in Eagle Lake, Maine but John said the trail was a family name and not Mitch specifically.

Michaud received rock star status for his completion including numerous television appearances and a profile in Sports Illustrated entitled “Upon a Peak in Delaware: Why is Mountaineer Mitch Michaud on Ebright Road in Centerville, Del.? Because it’s there” on December 14, 1970. Michaud was the second completer to Vin Hoeman who did it more quietly in 1966 but he got the attention.

The Club had lost track of him until 2012 when John Mitchler and Don Berens visited him his home in Worcester for an interview which appeared in issue 99 of Apex to Zenith in December 2012.

Excerpts from his obituary that appeared in Worcester include:

He is survived by his wife, Denise C.; his three children, Joseph K., Dawn H., and Eric F. Michaud; his two grandchildren, Lilah R., and Alexei A. Michaud, and his brother, Albert Michaud of Oregon.
Mitch was a lifelong mountaineer and a member of the Mazamas climbing organization.

The obituary noted after his completion:

Mitch then spent the rest of his career as a consultant in the sporting goods industry. He also taught mountain climbing at Clark University and continued to go on various mountaineering and outdoor adventures. His credo was:
“Each new day is a new Everest for each man; the object of his life should be to climb it with excitement, and with empathy, sympathy, concern and growing awareness for the world around him and all forms of life in it, including other men of all races, creeds, origins and persuasions; so that in the end it can be said that along his trail he left not only achievement, but joy and reconciliation, and left the world and its beauty untrammeled.”

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