Michael J. Harrell, 70, passed away Wednesday, June 27, 2019 at St. Vincent Hospital on 86th Street in Indianapolis.
Mike is survived by his wife of 50 years, Karen (Sellers) Harrell; two daughters, Brandi (Ben) Heck and Amber (Brian) Pynaert; three grandchildren, Joe, Anna and Jacob; and brother, Chuck (Gerri) Harrell. He was preceded in death by his parents, Vincent and Helen Harrell; and his brother, Ron Millcarek.
Mike was born on December 23, 1948 in South Bend where he attended Holy Cross Grade School and St. Joseph High School. He enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school and served in the Vietnam War. Mike married his high school sweetheart, Karen, in 1969 while deployed. She joined him later while he was stationed in Hawaii. After the service, they returned to South Bend and Mike began his career at General Finance, Liberty Steel, Lock Joint Tube and eventually Masonite (Mohawk Door), where he retired after working 27 years.
South Bend was his home for most of his life. Mike spent 31 years living on Portage Avenue where you could always find him sitting on his front porch waving at anyone who waved at him. He loved taking care of his yard, laying by the pool, hosting countless cookouts, foster parenting 24 children, Martin’s supermarket, trips to the farmer’s market, pastries from Macri’s Bakery, watching the airplanes fly over his house, and hearing the roar of the Notre Dame stadium from his backyard on game days.
Five years ago, Mike moved with his wife to Carmel to be closer to their three grandchildren. He quickly picked up the nickname “Mustache Mike” and began enjoying serving hot lunch at the school, watching his grandkids play soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, grilling burgers for Sunday dinners, shopping at “Krogers”, strawberry season at Spencer’s Farm, My Dad’s sweet corn from the Carmel Farmer’s Market, round-a-bouts, pothole free roads, sharing a popsicle with his dog, Vinny, and the beautiful sunsets over the pond in his backyard. After a serious health scare, Mike joined St. Vincent Pulmonary Rehabilitation where he spent several days a week working on his health while making friends along the way.
His life was filled with things he loved. Mike loved to vacation at the Limetree in Sarasota, Florida and dining at the Dry Dock. He loved his 70’s music, Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers to name a few. He loved Key lime pie, Dairy Queen, coin collecting, playing the lottery, watching Jeopardy, trips to the Smoky Mountains, buying junk food for his grandkids, and countless other simple things in life that made him easy to please.
Mike was loved by all who knew him. He was everyone’s dad, grandpa, uncle, and friend. He made friends wherever he went and was always known by name at the places he visited most often. Mike had a nickname and inside joke with everyone. He had a way of making you feel like you were his favorite person all the time. No one knew this better than his wife, Karen. She is blessed knowing she was his true love and forever his favorite person.
A celebration reception will be held on Sunday, July 7, 2019 from 4pm to 7pm at Carmela’s, 214 N. Niles Avenue in South Bend.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2pm on Monday, July 8 at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church, 11441 Hague Rd in Fishers, with a brief visitation from 1pm to 2pm prior to Mass. A luncheon will immediately follow. A private burial service will take place at a later date.
Randall & Roberts Fishers Mortuary has been entrusted with Mike’s care.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, please consider celebrating Mike’s memory by participating in the St. Vincent Flyaway 5K that Mike had planned to walk. If you are unable to participate, please consider donating to his 5K team online at
or by mail at St. Vincent Foundation, Attn: Flyaway 5k/Mustache Mike’s Memory, 8402 Harcourt Road, Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46260.