Michael Philbin, Father of Three, Was Captain of the Ypsilanti Fire Department, Building Inspector in Saline


Michael “Mike” Philbin passed away in Saline, Michigan on June 30, 2021, at the age of 83.

Mike was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to Let and Kay, in 1937. He grew up in Ypsi and attended Ypsilanti High School. After graduating from high school in 1955, he attended Dr. White’s School of Piano Technology, in Chicago, graduating as a piano technician in 1957. Mike then married Mary Jo (Cole) in February of 1958, and they went West, settling in the San Francisco Bay area of California, where he repaired, tuned and sold pianos. They started a family, having Kevin, Brian and Neil, and moved into a home in Sunnyvale, CA.

In 1967 he and Mary Jo moved the family back to Ypsilanti, Michigan to be closer to family, where he joined the Ypsilanti Fire Department. During his 20 years of service, Mike rose to the rank of Captain and was an EMT, helping to bring department-based emergency services to Ypsilanti. As part of regular community outreach for the Fire Department, Mike gave many lectures at grade schools around Ypsilanti concerning first aid and CPR and has been fondly remembered by many students who were classmates of his children.

Obtaining his contractor’s license, Mike joined the Saline Building Department as a Building Inspector and served in this position for 10 years, during a rather active phase in Saline’s growth. Mike continued to tune and rebuild pianos as a sideline throughout his life, focusing regularly on vintage player pianos, which he would restore from non-working to perfectly functioning. He always had a piano project going on around the house and enjoyed playing for his family.

Mike and Mary Jo had always enjoyed traveling. They regularly took vacations and traveled across the United States, taking their sons to a total of 36 States. They also traveled to Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Europe, as well as regular visits with their sons Brian and Neil, in Los Angeles and Paris, respectively.

Mike is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Jo, his three sons, four grandchildren and 1.5 great grandchildren.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Lester “Let” and Catharine “Kay” Philbin, and his sister and brother, Nancy Adsit and Pat Philbin.

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