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OCT 14- OCT 21, 2014

Remembering a Great Gentleman; Michael Whitenight, 1960-2014

By Mike Hudson

October 14, 2014

Michael Whitenight ...
“If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass...

I just received word of the sudden death of my old friend, Michael Whitenight. I am sad beyond measure, and my heart goes out to his wife Kristen and their boys, Michael and Maxwell.

Mike Whitenight was one of the good guys. I first met him 15 years ago when he called the offices of the Niagara Falls Reporter. The mayor then, Irene Elia, was mounting a telephone campaign in an effort to get local businesses to stop advertising with us and carrying the paper in their stores. He got wind of it and offered to help.

“I didn’t serve in the United States Army to come home and have some politician try and shut down a newspaper,” he told me that day.

I went out to LaSalle where Mike and Kris ran Whitenight’s Fine Jewelers on Buffalo Avenue and, by the end of the day, the mayor had lost a supporter, the Reporter gained a new advertiser and I made a great friend.

We shared a passion for guns and shooting and were both members of the LaSalle Sportsman’s Club. In 2008, as I was preparing for a bear hunt up in Maine, he offered to go out to the range with me and spot using one of his telescopes to ensure that my rifle and scope were hitting well at any reasonable range.

Later, I was able to return the favor when he needed to sight in a Winchester Model 70 .308 one of his boys was taking out on a deer hunt at the family’s Southern Tier camp.

He loved those boys. I remember once he showed me a rare watch that had come in over the transom at his shop. He wanted to give it to either Michael or Maxwell but said he couldn’t until he found an identical watch to give to the other son. He never wanted either of them to think he favored one over the other, he said.

He was also passionate about the city of Niagara Falls, though not in a way that would ever prompt him into running for office or writing letters to the editor. He quietly but generously supported charitable organizations such as Community Missions and the Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club, never seeking or asking for any sort of recognition.

But most of all he loved and was devoted to his beautiful wife Kris. He talked about her all the time, and when you’d run into the two of them some weekend night at the casino or some upscale nightclub, his love for her and pride in being with her was obvious. Mike was a guy who wore his heart on his sleeve.

Niagara Falls is a poorer place for his passing and so is the whole world. He was only 54.

So today I’ll remember my friend Mike Whitenight. Odds are, I’ll have a drink to his memory. I’ll pray for Kris and Michael and Maxwell. As for Mike himself, there’s no need to pray, because he’s wherever good guys go.

Rest in Peace, old friend.

The young Michael Whitenight

 

 

 

 

 

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