Michael Robert McCullough was born April 25, 1944, to Harry and Mary (Pendergast) McCullough, in Syracuse, NY. Mike entered eternal rest Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at Creston Specialty Care at the age of 79 years, 5 months and 29 days.
Mike grew up with three brothers and would get a twinkle in his eye while talking about his childhood, especially visiting their family farm in Pheonix, NY. He would often reminisce of summers at the family-built camp on Lake Ontario, named The Penderosa, after their mother, Mary Rosina. This camp became a treasured space for several generations to come.
He was a 1962 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy, later earning a degree in Business Management from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY. Mike proudly served in the United States Air Force from 1964 to 1967, specializing in rescue and survival instruction (Stead AFB, NV). He had the unique privilege of guiding NASA Apollo 13 astronaut candidates, through desert survival training while enlisted in the 336th Training Group (Fairchild AFB, WA).
He was united in marriage with Sharon Kay (Staples) and recently celebrated 55 years filled with cherished experiences and friendships. Mike and Sharon met many close friends in their travels, always showing people hospitality and hosting gatherings. They raised three beloved daughters, Patricia, Debbie, and Jennifer. Mike devoted time to support his family showing Paint and Pinto horses and going on family trips.
Mike began his professional career at Oberdorfer Foundries as a sales territory manager in the northeast, where he fervently grew new business opportunities in high-grade aerospace casting and motorsport segments. He was integral in securing sponsorships within the Indy Car racing circuit, forming key partnerships with well-known drivers, and development of engine casting programs.
Mike had a passion for people and a gift for connectedness. This allowed him to be a natural in building relationships throughout his career.
In 1999, Mike followed his enthusiasm for the metalcasting industry to Creston, IA, where he served as VP of Sales and Marketing at Wellman Dynamics, a manufacturer that supplies aerospace castings to support military fleets, global disaster relief, and space exploration. He resourcefully secured sponsorships with NASCAR and the World of Outlaws through the Toyota racing cylinder head program. During his 24 years of service, he was driven to serve customers with his unwavering spirit.
Mike was equally passionate about stewarding his resources to give back to the community through sponsorship, advocacy for manufacturing, and sharing his appreciation for the quality of life in small-town Iowa. He was a member of Crestmoor Golf Club, the Elks Lodge, and Past President of the Creston Chamber of Commerce.
Mike had a witty personality. He always loved a good joke, rhyming relentlessly, and charming others with his stories. After work, you could find him extending a salute to friends at The Lobby in Creston or watching wildlife at Green Valley State Park.
Leading by example, Mike prioritized building relationships. He shared stories of his life experiences and grew in fellowship with everyone he encountered. With friendships built around the world, Mike had a knack for languages and enjoyed the camaraderie across cultural boundaries. His welcoming disposition let others know there was always a seat at his table.
Mike’s legacy of genuine connectedness leaves us with an impactful reminder that our relationships, spirit, and character are the only things we take when we leave this world.
Those left to cherish his memory are his wife Sharon, and their family: daughter, Jennifer McCullough (Brian Patrick) of Syracuse, NY; and Mary Volles of Syracuse, NY; daughter, Debbie (Greg) Sawmiller of LaFayette, NY; and Michael and Sarah Sawmiller (siblings) of Lafayette, NY; daughter, Patricia (Joseph) Magill, Virginia Beach, VA; and Tracy (Monica) Burdick of Lafayette, NY and Kathleen Magill of Pella, Iowa.
Mike is also survived by his brother Harry Joseph Jr. (Kathy) McCullough of Auburn, NY; sisters-in-law: Patty McCullough of Sandy Creek, NY, Marilyn McCullough of Torrence, CA, and Sandy Gibson of Pulaski, NY; niece, Barbara McCullough of Boston, MA; nephew, Patrick (Abby) McCullough of Richland, NY; 4 bonus grandkids; 7 great grandchildren; great nieces and nephews; and many other extended family members.
Mike was preceded by his parents, Harry Joseph Sr. and Mary Rosena (Pendergast) McCullough; brothers: Steven and Mark McCullough; and an infant sister, Kathleen.
The family will receive friends in Creston on Friday, November 3rd from 4:00-6:00pm at Pearson Family Funeral Service. Services will follow at 6:30pm with Father Livinus Anweting, Celebrant. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial contribution to the Creston Elks Lodge No. 605 or Care Initiatives Hospice in Creston.