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Michael Sylvester Marx

Michael Marx obit

Michael Sylvester Marx of Avondale, Arizona passed away on December 1, 2020. He was born to Ida and George Marx on July 12, 1946 in Boise, Idaho. Mike lost his father at the young age of 4 and at the age of 11, his family moved to Orange, California. He joined the surfing community where he cultivated his love of all water sports and expanded this love to the local lakes and Colorado River through boating and camping adventures.

After graduating from Orange High in 1964, he attended Orange Coast College and applied to Aunt Jemima’s at Disneyland. Little did he know that working for the Disney Organization would be his life-long career. Michael worked in practically every aspect of Onstage Disneyland Operations: Food, Merchandise, Attractions, Custodial, and Main Street, the Parking Lot, and Circle D. He quickly moved up the ladder leaving his personal mark along the way.

The first time he met Walt Disney, Mike called him “Mr. Disney,” to which Walt replied, “My name is Walt.” Major projects were numerous and included: Hungry Bear Restaurant, Aladdin’s Oasis, New Fantasyland, Alice in Wonderland, Big Thunder Railroad, Main Street Lockers and countless rehabs. He was honored to host many celebrities and dignitaries, such as Presidents Ronald Reagan and HW Bush. Michael had a distinguished career of 35 years with the Disney Organization.

It was during these years that this Disney guy met his Disney girl, Illene Barranger, and married her on March 18, 1979. They welcomed a red-haired daughter, Megan, in 1985. Together, they all enjoyed River vacations, Disney and family experiences.

In 2000, Michael and his family left Disney and California behind and moved to Arizona, where both sets of parents lived. For 4 years he was Director of Operations for Skeeball in Phoenix. He left Skeeball when the organization moved all operations back East. He then coordinated Maintenance at El Dorado of Sun City. He was the gadget man…the one everyone called to fix their TV’s, remotes, and wifi, etc., as well as handling all maintenance concerns. He left El Dorado in 2013. His last job was at Westbrook Village Golf Course before officially retiring from the workforce in 2017.

Michael enjoyed golfing with his friends, riding his beloved Harley with his wife and members of the “Live to Ride, Ride to Eat” gang, Spring training season, and becoming an Apple and Tech Geek. He so enjoyed being able to help build the Arizona West K9 Support Center and assisting with their fundraising events. He loved spending time with his “Grands” whether it was at church activities, fishing, school events, birthday celebrations, or car adventures. For the last few years, he especially enjoyed camping in the 5th wheel with many trips to Tombstone and the Old West in Southern Arizona. He loved his travels to Ireland and Scotland; the simplicity, beauty, and history at every turn. He was a grilling and smoking chef, who kept his Weber and GMG busy for hours feeding family and friends.

Michael leaves behind a legacy of hard work, wonderful memories, a loving family and many friends. He was a man of faith who worked in his callings within the Bishopric and his Corte Sierra Ward in the LDS church.

He is survived by his loving wife, Illene Marx; daughter Megan Marx (Mike); sisters Pat Marx and Joann Wattier; grandchildren: TJ, Tyson, Angel, Zackeriah, and Brooklyn; special family members Jill and Jason Reed and Leticia and Robert Gonzales; Uncle Reed and Aunt Janet Alderman; many cousins, nieces, and nephews in Utah, Montana, Arizona and Virginia. Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Ida and George Marx, and his step-father Gene Ford.

Services are private. His ashes will be returned home.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Arizona West K9 Support Center.

37 Comments on “Michael Sylvester Marx

  1. No words can express our sadness at the news of Mike’s passing. He will always be a special part of our lives. Prayers and love to his family.
    Barbara and Alan Molmod

  2. So sad to hear this news. Mike has always had a special place in my heart. Prayers for Irene, Pat and family.

  3. Wow I was unaware of Mike’s passing and it’s with great sorrow I’m sure to his wife Irene and their children of what a great guy he was he will be sorely missed. He was a great guy and a great roommate while we both worked at Disneyland in the early 70’s !

  4. I’m so sad to hear of Mike’s passing. We worked together at Disneyland for many years. He lived a happy, busy life in Arizona with his family. I’ll always remember how kind he was and that nice smiling face. It was a pleasure to know you Mike.

  5. Illene, Pat and Family
    I am so very sorry for the passing of Mike. My condolences to you and your family during this very difficult time. Mike will be missed!! 🙏💔🙏

  6. Was my Leader when I started working At the Mint Julep Bar in 1971 and again when I worked at Plaza Inn on Main Street, Was pleasure to know him and Know will miss him.

  7. Mike and I started our friendship back in the early 70’s when I hired into the French Market at Disneyland (he was one of my supervisors). We shared many laughs and silly nick names (the Rhea Sisters with Steve Tessman, too), won’t go into details, but we always laughed and mentioned it each time we ran into each other. One of the most amazing times was celebrating 6 years ago with a friend of mine from Disney, her 45th year with the company. It was a horribly hot day/night and we were to have dinner in New Orleans Square. We sat down at the French Market to have cocktails and eat. All of a sudden, there’s Mike and his sister Pat with their dinner. We looked at each other and then discussed how here’s exactly where we met/worked/played and it was ‘magical’, pardon the pun! He was a super good guy and I certainly enjoyed knowing him. My sincere condolences to his wife, sister and family! I will always think of him when I go past the French Market! Peace be on your journey, Diane ‘Dia’ ‘Rhea’ Miller Judd

  8. Illene….just know my heart is very sad…I know Mike will be forever missed…prayers for you cousin and family….

  9. My condolences to the family. I enjoyed working with Mike as my supervisor at Disneyland. I have many fond memories of a great guy

  10. Ilene, my heartfelt sympathy goes for you & your family. Mike was a wonderful person & all of us will miss him dearly. He was very special & I have wonderful memories of him. God Speed Mike & May you Rest In Peace in God’s hands, Love Flash 💕💕💕🙏🙏

  11. Illene and family I am so sorry for your loss. Enjoyed working with Mike (most of the time). I was always empresses with his fairness when dealing with union matters and negotiations for a contract with the company.
    I was looking forward to having them come up to Idaho to visit us.
    Again my deepest thoughts and prayers to you and the family. We will be thinking of all of you during this time.

  12. Illene, Patty and family
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very difficult time.
    I have great memories of Mike when we all worked at Disneyland.
    I am fortunate that our friendship has grown stronger through the years. I am just a phone call away.

    Happy Trails Mike, until we meet again.

  13. This is a sad day for us. Mike was always so much fun. Our Heavenly Father has a plan for him. But I hope he is enjoying the slopes with his old ski buddies Gary Wakefield and Doug Morrow .We will miss you RIP, Mike♥️

  14. My condolences to all. Mike was a wonderful person. He was my first boss so Aunt Jemima’s in 1968 and is one of the reasons for my 46 year career with Disney. Opening Hungry Bear with him convinced me about my career. Mike was in my wedding in 1978. He was an amazing friend and person.

    • Hi Dale, it’s Patty Curtis- Bartels
      Kathe told me about Mikes passing. So hard to accept our loved ones leaving us. Bob passed away 9 years ago from leukemia, which also took his eyesight. We had one daughter, Andrea who is now 42, married with 2 children. Hope life has been good to you.
      Patty

      • Hi Patty. It’s been many years since we parted comps and I went on with my life.
        Time moves quickly and 50 years later I pop up on an email after re-reading some of the comments from Mike’s obituary.
        Several years ago. I was trying to look up Bob on a Google search and I was stunned to find that he had passed away.
        What made this so ironical was that My wife, Sue, parents lived in Salem and I regularly Golfed there for many years on our visits to see them. Maybe I walked right by Bob without even knowing it.
        Hope all is well and thought I’d check in with you

  15. Mike was a great boss and I enjoyed working with him while I was at the Circle D. I was very sad to learn of his passing. His many Disneyland friends will mourn him.

  16. Mike was a friend and mentor to me. I am deeply saddened by this personal loss. He will be missed by many. I will remember the fun trips to Havasu and Mammoth. Life is not fair.

  17. I am so saddened to hear this news. Mike and I worked together in the Food Division for many many years. I worked in Fantasyland and we hung around together during the time he and Dale Stafford opened Hungry Bear Restaurant. My deepest sympathy to you Ilene. I hope you remember me as you and I worked at the TDA together. I emailed my friend who also worked at Disneyland in Foods and knew Mike. As she said, she was very surprised to hear of this news. Again, my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I will always have good thoughts of Mike. Kathe Hennen Bridgham

  18. So sorry to hear the news. Mike was always a great supervisor while I worked in the park. My condolences to you Ilene and your family.

  19. Mike was a great leader in Fantasyland merchandise! He will be sorely missed!

  20. What a wonderful man indeed! We will miss him! Love to you Ilene and family!

  21. I am so sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. I had the pleasure of working with him for many years. Mike was a true professional who knew foods like the back of his hand. He ran a tight ship with a great sarcastic sense of humor I loved! My thoughts go out to you Illene and family.

  22. God Bless you and the family Illene, my prayers and thoughts are with you, and the family!

  23. I worked with Mike at Disneyland for about 11 years… a real down to earth, committed & loyal guy. I’m privileged to have had him as a co-worker and a friend.

  24. Illene and Family, please accept our condolences in the loss of Mike. We are so sorry to hear of his passing. We became friends and neighbors 16 years ago and we very much enjoyed talking to him and seeing him enjoy life. We will miss him.

    Blessings
    Ed and La Tonia Greene

  25. I worked at Disneyland’s Circle D where Mike was our manager. He was a good man to work for. He had a great sense of humor and always enjoyed a good practical joke. He was definitely one of the best managers and human that I ever worked for. He will be missed.

  26. I didn’t work with Mike that much but he was always very professional and courteous in all of his interactions with me. He and Ilene made such a nice couple. I’m so glad they had a long life together and I know she’ll miss him. Wishing his family the best during this time.

  27. So sad to hear of Mike’s passing. I worked with him in the 401 office in Adventureland. Such a big presence that earned lots of respect amongst his peers. I enjoyed his sarcastic humor and admired his professionalism…and wow, he loved his wife!!

  28. It’s been two months since I heard the news . It’s still hard to fathom the loss of such a good lifelong friend and roommate.
    I first met Mike at Aunt Jemima’s in 1967. After moving into the kitchen we found a common bond in partying and body surfing. Great summers. The activities changed to water and snow skiing.
    Mike was instrumental in guiding me into supervision . I never forgot that. Even though we worked in other areas of the Park, we became roommates for a couple of years.
    Regrettably, after being let go from Disneyland in 1974, we drifted apart while I pursued my engineering and construction career with Fluor Daniel.
    When my wife, Sue and I went to Disneyland we always sought out Mike for a quick conversation down memory lane.
    In 1996, I was transferred to the East Coast and never saw Mike again although we did keep in touch with him on Facebook.
    Ironically, Sue and I would be driving across country to California last summer and Mike and I made plans to visit at his home in Arizona.
    Unfortunately, the pandemic got in the way and we had to cancel the visit.
    If only I could have seen Mike one more time and 4 months later he was gone.
    Mike touched us all and now he is in God’s hands
    Godspeed my friend.

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