Cover photo for Michael Andre Priest's Obituary
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1945 Michael 2022

Michael Andre Priest

July 19, 1945 — December 17, 2022

Michael Andre Priest, 77, of Eveleth, MN died suddenly on Saturday December 17, 2022, in Bozeman, MT of an unrecoverable and immensely surprising cardiac event after a full week of vacation where he enjoyed many of his favorite things including sharing time with family, alpine skiing, listening to live music, visiting breweries, and thrift shopping.  


Michael “Mike” was born on July 19, 1945, in Leicester, England to Mavis Irene Colyer Priest and Neville Arthur Priest. He was the oldest of four children. The family immigrated to Sudbury, Ontario when Mike was 12 years old. He graduated from the Lockerby Composite Secondary School before receiving an Associate’s Degree in Mining Engineering from the Haileybury School of Mines, in Haileybury, ON. Mike then entered the Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI where he met the love of his live, Catherine “Cathy” Viant. Mike earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Mining Engineering in 1971 and then worked for a year at the Falconbridge Nickel Mines in Onaping, ON while Cathy graduated. On July 29th, 1972, Mike and Cathy were married in Ishpeming, MI, moving to Chelmsford, ON and then Trenton, MI, where he worked for the Ottawa Silica Company in Gibraltar, MI.  Mike then took a job with U.S. Steel in Mt. Iron, MN, renting a house for a year before he and Cathy purchased their home in Fayal Township. Uncertainty in mining in the late 70’s created the right environment for him to launch his own business. Mesabi Sailboats was started in his garage out of a love for sailing inherited from his father. Five locations later, Mike expanded Mesabi Recreation to sell other equipment for the sports he enjoyed including bikes, skies, snowshoes, apparel, rollerblades, pools, hot tubs, boat lifts, docks, and other complementary sports like curling, skateboarding, and snowboarding. Over his 42+ years of providing adventure opportunities to Iron Rangers, he probably had over a hundred helpful employees and thousands of loyal customers who were greatly appreciated.


Mike and Cathy had two children who they cherished very much. Sarah Margaret was born on June 12, 1980 and David Viant on December 8, 1985. Mike was ever-proud of his children for their accomplishments in school, sports, and in life. Mike treasured his time as Grandpa - he would volunteer to be a ski gate judge and loved traveling to support the kid’s BMX bike races. Mike also loved many dogs over the years, with Rossi, his English Setter, being his recent constant companion.


Mike strived to learn and be active - in fact he could hardly be still. He collected magazines, joined groups from Model Trains to Beekeepers. He grew plants and gardened. He brewed beer and made wine. He tinkered and fixed things. He enjoyed investing in the market and hedging on properties.  


Mike grew up playing games with his beloved brothers Graham and Christopher, and sister Susan. His favorite game was Monopoly, and they would play for hours which occasionally rolled into days. Mike was known for a peculiar/fascinating accent, a great smile, an eclectic sense of humor, a mischievous glimmer in his eyes, an interesting perspective/viewpoint on many things, a relentless desire to be frugal, a tireless work ethic, the ability to amass/collect many objects that could serve him in the future, and to show love in his own special way.


He is greatly missed by his surviving family - wife of more than 50 years, Catherine, their 'Three Musketeers', English Setters - Ace, Lottie, and Rossi, daughter Sarah (partner Richard Narum) with granddogs Ollie and Dory of Duluth, MN, son David (wife Lisa) with their three children - Alexa (12), Savannah (9), and Weston (5) of Bozeman, MT; brothers Graham (Bonnie) Priest of Port Colborne, ON; Christopher (Susan) Priest of Hamilton, ON; sister Susan (Dan) Bonish of Sudbury, ON; nieces - Laura Priest Lafantaisie, Alix (Nicholas) Priest Langin; nephews - Daniel (Christine) Priest, Eli Priest, Peter Aaron Bonish, Benjamin (Heather) Bonish, Jason (Nicole) Bonish; and 10 grand-nieces and nephews. Mike was preceded in death by his parents and his in-laws - Melvin and Charlotte Viant.


A Celebration of Life will be held at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church at 306 2nd St. S, Virginia, MN on Thursday December 29th at 11am with a visitation prior and a social following. The service will be streamed/recorded for those unable to attend - www.holyspiritvirginia.com.


Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers. Donations may be made to: Our English Setter Rescue (OESR) P. O. Box 708, Hilliard, Ohio 43026; American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 7023, Merrifield, VA 22116-7023; American Heart Association, P. O Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284-0692.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael Andre Priest, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

Holy Spirit Catholic Church

306 2nd Street South, Virginia, MN 55792

Visitation prior and a social following.

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