KONTURA, Michael A.

KONTURA, Michael A.

Michael Anthony Kontura remarkable and devoted spouse to Sandy (Dunyan). Zealous father to Adam, Michael Jr. & Nick. Loving son to Ron and Carol. Caring brother to Bobby (Sue) & Ron Jr (Erin). Awesome Brother in law, uncle and friend to so many.

Michael Anthony Kontura, age 57 was taken from us much, much too soon. On Sept. 4 th after playing Xbox until the wee hours of the morning, he went to sleep and never woke up. If you did not get a chance to know this dynamic, compassionate person – you truly missed out. Michael was born and raised in Garfield Hts. He went to Padua High School back before “they let girls in”. He joined the swim team. He still holds the record for the JV breast stroke. Michael went to Cleveland State University where he met someone who could only be called the love of his life. He loved his college sweetheart, Sandy with every fiber of his being. October would have been their 33 rd anniversary. Michael’s professional career started at Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services. His dedication to the children of various unfortunate situations was born out of a superior sense of compassion and need to help. In 1992 he moved to the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. He was a pioneer of the program which worked with the court system to understand and work with developmentally disabled offenders. Michael was extremely passionate about his chosen career. He would go to various counties and cities and lecture around the Midwest on how the officers, courts and others involved might gain a better understanding of this population. Mike was very passionate about his job. He wanted to help people. He struggled with tolerating the bureaucracy that goes along with this and would be the first to share that. He was truly there to help others and hated that the paperwork got in his way. His involvement as Forensic Liaison for the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County gave him the opportunity to help so many individuals and families. He was an inspiration. Michael was so much more than just a social worker. Work was important to him but it was not his entire world. Michael and Sandy have three boys – Adam (30), Michael (28) and Nick (26). His love of family was everything. In his role as a father it can truly be said Mike handed down his dedication, love, compassion, determination and so many other wonderful characteristics to his boys. The Kontura boys have grown up to become thoughtful, caring, intelligent loving men. Michael should be and was proud of his boys. Michael was what one might call a social butterfly. He loved people. He was a loyal friend. If you needed help – anytime – two in the morning – or six at night – he was there. He was a ‘call me anytime’ person. He was a ‘I’ve got your back’ person. He was a ‘you’re like a brother/sister to me’ person. If Mike told you he’d help you move a couch or put up a swing set – he always showed up. And he was happy to do it. He had so many people who he considered much more than friends – he considered you family. Michael was a talented softball player. Softball was his choice sport for so many years. He played golf, hockey, racquetball, ping pong, cornhole and pickleball and any other sport that would cross his path. He was a talented, competitive athlete. And while all sports were of interest to him – no sport ever compared to his Bocce. Mike would tell you that he played “Professional” bocce. This is not backyard bocce. This is “get out of the way Mike is about to shoot” bocce. This is “keep your own stats so you know how well you did” bocce. Mike wasn’t merely good at this. He was excellent. His talent and strategies used in every game he ever played was something to be witnessed. Since moving to Florida, Mike would return – sometimes twice a month, to Ohio for a bocce tournament. The 17 hour drive each way was something Mike looked forward to making. He was always worried when a tournament would be approaching and he ‘didn’t have a team yet.’ He was such an awesome player anyone would benefit from having him on their team. Michael kept stats. At any given game he would tell you his success percentage. Mike did not cheat or exaggerate – ever. If you could not win the game with talent and skill you did not deserve the title. Mike came up to Ohio in September for ‘the biggest tournament of his life.’ The elation and excitement when his team took first place was electric. In May of 2019 Michael retired from CCBDD and moved to Florida. Living in Florida has always been a dream of Mike’s. He moved into a beautiful home in a wonderful development. While leaving so many friends and family in Ohio was difficult, Mike definitely made the right choice in this decision. He loved Florida. Anyone who knew Mike would be drawn to him and his enthusiasm for life. Mike’s love of a good meal, great vacation destination, fun music, love of a good story, outdoor activities, and life in all sense of the word was just so vibrant. Everyone who knew Mike, without exception has a Mike story. He was so colorful and full of life. His laughter was contagious. His friendliness with everyone one —from the kid bagging the groceries to the gecko living on the lanai was just so very special. Mike never met a person he could not talk with. People loved Mike for his loyalty, honesty and absolute innocence. With Michael Anthony Kontura, “what you see was what you get”. Having known and loved Michael Anthony Kontura is worth more than anything else I can imagine. To say he will be missed is an understatement of colossal magnitude.

We will be saying our farewell to him by having a Mass on Wednesday, September 16 th at 10:30am St. Martin of Tours 14600 Turney Road Maple Heights, OH. Some call it a ‘Wake’ others call it a ‘Celebration of Life’ I choose to think of it as the ‘Friends and Family Freakout’ over Mike’s much too short time with us. Whatever you’d like to call it, the family of Michael Kontura will be available to receive people at the VFW Pavilion from 1-7pm 8584 Olde Eight Road Northfield Center, OH. It is our sincere wish that you come by to share your thoughts and stories. It is a CASUAL atmosphere. Mike never would require suit and tie. Bring a cooler or snack – as you like. It’s a picnic setting. We are hoping to maintain social distancing and observe the standard practices put forth during the crisis.

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Fred and Ruth Misischia on September 12th, 2020 6:33 pm

    Our deepest condolences to the family of Mike Kontura. Mike was a very unique and personable friend.

  2. Tom and Jeri Smith on September 12th, 2020 7:25 pm

    Mike was a great friend and even a beter person.He will be missed by one and all.I feel lucky to have known known him for all these years.I was also lucky enough to have known his parents and his family.I not only played softball with Mike but also his dad back in the Ohio Bell days.Mike was happy and and full of life when we last talked just 10 days ago.He loved his wife and family so much.I will miss you Mike.rest in peace.you were a great friend!

  3. Tom and Jeri Smith on September 12th, 2020 7:46 pm

    Mike was a great friend whom will be missed by one and all.Condolences to Sandy and the boys.his mom and brothers.his pets whom he loved so much and his entire family.If you knew Mike,you had a great friend,who told it like it was.I was lucky enough to have been his friend for all these years.I not only played softball with him but also his dad back in the Ohio Bell days.I cant believe he is gone so soon after seeing him only 10 days ago.Rest in peace Mike,Jeri and I miss you already.

  4. Ross Salupo on September 12th, 2020 7:49 pm

    Dear Sandy…
    So so sorry for your loss. When I think of you and Michael I always remember the “Agency Camp Out”…. Mike lead the way and I felt we were all in good hands! I also think of the Agency Picnic at the Gilchrist Beach ….. he helped me get on and off the jet ski and even let me take it for a ride. You two were always a couple that were full of life and shared much joy with others. I know he will always be with you and the boys in spirit. May you have peace knowing he will always be looking over you sending beautiful memories of his love for you.
    Ross & Gail

  5. Tim & Lisa O’Malley on September 13th, 2020 8:38 am

    Sandy and Family,
    We were shocked to see Mike’s obituary in today’s paper. We both worked with Mike for many years at CCBDD and Tim retired about the same time as Mike. Tim remembers them giving each other a big bear hug goodbye and wishing for each other a future of joy and sweet memories for the next chapter of life. Mike lit up a room with his smile and his stories of family were filled with love and pride. He was real. He cared. He was one of the good guys. Our sincere condolences to all of the Kontura family.
    Tim & Lisa O’Malley

  6. Debbie Wiegand Miller on September 13th, 2020 10:56 am

    Kontrua family – I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Mike. I will keep you and your entire family in my prayers during this difficult time.

  7. Diane & Michael Kurilla on September 13th, 2020 12:05 pm

    Diane and I are Neighbors of Sandy and Mike here in Florida.
    From the start when we met them for the first time we knew they were special people.
    Mike and I had many of brief conversations over the short time he was with us, a great person.
    He was always ready to help out someone in need.
    I believe he surely loved his brief retirement and all the new friends he had made here at Trilogy Orlando.
    Not a day has gone by that I look across the fence thinking he will be outside doing something.
    I’m sure this feeling may fade over time but will never be forgotten.
    Our condolences to Sandy, the boys and his family and friend.
    Enjoy that perfect bocce ball court in heaven, May you Rest In Peace.
    Our Love Diane and Mike Kurilla

  8. Angela McDade on September 13th, 2020 12:27 pm

    Please accept my heartfelt sympathy in the passing of this devoted Husband, Father, Son, Friend, and Champion of those he served through the Cuyahoga County Board of DD. Although I only came in contact with Mike from time to time, it was always a pleasure,as he was very positive, friendly, and had a great smile! May God Bless in Keep you all in His Perfect Peace during this time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Don and Mary Jo Lampert on September 13th, 2020 5:23 pm

    Mike was one hell of a wonderful person and a true friend. His passing is non other than a damn shame. Rest In Peace Mike.

  10. Andy & Debbie Bottiglieri on September 13th, 2020 5:24 pm

    We just wanted to send our heartfelt condolences to your family on Mike’s passing. He was a heck of a swell guy who will truly be missed by us and all who knew him. Prayers sent to you.

  11. Mrs. Cheryl Sunyak on September 13th, 2020 10:40 pm

    To Mike’s wife and family, I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I worked as a Probation Officer and Mike helped with my Developmentally Disabled clients. He was truly an exceptional advocate with these clients. Mike was so down-to-earth and had a good sense of humor in addition to his extraordinary work ethic. .He spoke so fondly of his wife and sons that we all knew that he treasured you above all. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

  12. William Wiesler on September 14th, 2020 7:30 am

    My condolence goes out to Mike’s family at the passing of this great and generous man. I knew Mike for many years through my counseling work. He loved his coworkers and clients and was always ready to go “that extra mile” to assist them. He always had a smile on his face, and always had time to listen people. I know that he improved the quality of care for all with whom he worked. The community has become a better place because Mike walked with us and shared his many gifts. I will always remember him for his Smile!

  13. Don Tittle on September 14th, 2020 8:19 am

    Since I am a criminal defense attorney, I got to know Mike very well. I can attest to everything written about him above. My wife also worked with him at the County Board of DD. She loved Mike as well.

    We golfed together a few times which was a joy. He was truly athletic. He was a wonderful human being. It is so unfair that he was taken from us so soon. He will be remembered fondly and missed greatly. My heart goes out to all that knew and loved this great man.

  14. CheChe & Steve Blackburn (Lobello) on September 14th, 2020 12:52 pm

    Dear Sandy, Carol and Family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. We are not able to attend in person but we wanted to send our love and condolences. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
    Love, cousins Che Che & Steve

  15. Tom Langa on September 14th, 2020 5:04 pm

    I was shocked and truly saddened to hear of Mike’s untimely passing. I was a classmate of his at St. Martin of Tour’s (class of ’77) and considered him a great childhood friend. There were only 31 in our 8th grade graduating class – and only 12 boys – so we were a pretty close group. Mike and I were well matched athletically – as a matter of fact, I remember clearly that whenever we wrestled as part of PE (“gym”), Mike and I were always paired against one another. Neither of us were the shortest in our class (that was Chris S. and Tom M.), but we were close – and far from the tallest! Whenever we wrestled it was always extremely competitive and a close match – one or the other winning out on points (or a single point) at the end of the time limit. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that over the years we split the matches evenly right down the middle. We also played basketball together for 4 years – most under the coaching of Mike’s dad, who was a great guy and a real gift to us boys (though I wish we’d won more games for him!). Again, Mike and I were pretty evenly matched on the basketball court, and were often paired against one another for drills, one-on-one matches, scrimmages, etc. We were even paired together in the CYO 2-on-2 basketball tournament one year (though I think we made a pretty early exit). We challenged each other, (hopefully) made each other better, and were teammates and friends on and off the court. Mike and I went our separate ways after SMT, going to different (rival) high schools, and I’m sorry to say we fell out of touch then. I wish I had cultivated our friendship after St. Martin’s and into adulthood, as I can tell he was an amazing son, husband, father, coworker, mentor and friend – and I can attest to the latter, even if only as a young boy. My heartfelt prayers go out to the entire family – Mrs. K., Bobby, Ronny, Sandy, Adam, Michael Nick and families – and for the loss of Mr. K. as well. At times like this we lean on and into our Faith, and I have every confidence that Mike has been reunited with his dad, and is not only at peace, but overwhelmed with joy and happiness in the heavenly home we are all striving for. God Bless and Keep You Mike! Pray for me – and let’s go one-on-one again next time we meet, my friend….

  16. Tom Langa on September 14th, 2020 6:49 pm

    I was shocked and truly saddened to hear of Mike’s passing. I was a classmate at St. Martin’s (class of ’77) and considered him a great childhood friend. There were only 31 in our 8th grade class – only 12 boys – so we were a pretty close group. Mike and I were pretty well matched athletically – as a matter of fact, when we wrestled in PE (“gym”), Mike and I were always paired against one another. We weren’t the shortest in our class (that was Chris S. and Tom M.), but we were close! Whenever we wrestled it was always extremely competitive – one or the other winning out on points (or a single point) at the end of the time limit. Over the years we probably split the matches right down the middle. We also played basketball together for 4 years –under the coaching of Mike’s dad, who was a great guy and a real gift to us boys (though I wish we’d won more games for him!). Mike and I were evenly matched on the court, and were often paired against one another for drills, one-on-one matches, scrimmages, etc. (Continued)

  17. Tom Langa on September 14th, 2020 6:50 pm

    (Continued) We were even paired in the CYO 2-on-2 basketball tournament one year (though I think we made a pretty early exit). We challenged each other, made each other better, and were teammates and friends on and off the court. We went our separate ways after SMT, going to different (rival) high schools, and I’m sorry to say we fell out of touch then. I wish I had cultivated our friendship after St. Martin’s and into adulthood, as I can tell he was an amazing son, husband, father, coworker, mentor and friend – and I can attest to the latter, even if only as a young boy. My heartfelt prayers go out to the entire family – Mrs. K., Bobby, Ronny, Sandy, Adam, Michael Nick and families – and for the loss of Mr. K. as well. At times like this we lean on and into our Faith, and I have every confidence that Mike has been reunited with his dad, and is not only at peace, but overwhelmed with joy and happiness in the heavenly home we are all striving for. God Bless and Keep You Mike! Pray for me – and let’s go one-on-one again next time we meet, my friend….

  18. Tom Langa on September 14th, 2020 6:57 pm

    I was shocked and saddened to hear of Mike’s passing. I was a classmate at St. Martin’s and considered him a great friend. There were only 31 in our 8th grade class – 12 boys – so we were a pretty close group. Mike and I were pretty well matched athletically. When we wrestled in PE (“gym”), Mike and I were always paired against one another and it was always extremely competitive – one or the other winning out on points (or a single point) at the end of the time limit. Over the years we probably split the matches right down the middle. We also played basketball together under the coaching of Mike’s dad, who was a great guy and a real gift to us boys (though I wish we’d won more games for him!). Mike and I were evenly matched on the court, and were often paired against one another for drills, one-on-one matches, scrimmages, etc. (Continued)

  19. Tom Langa on September 14th, 2020 7:02 pm

    I was shocked and saddened to hear of Mike’s passing. I was a classmate at St. Martin’s and considered him a great friend. There were only 12 boys in our 8th grade class so we were a pretty close group. Mike and I were well matched athletically. When we wrestled in PE Mike and I were always paired against one another and it was always extremely competitive – one or the other winning out on points (or a single point) at the end of the time limit. We also played basketball together under the coaching of Mike’s dad, who was a great guy and a real gift to us boys (though I wish we’d won more games for him!). Mike and I were evenly matched on the court, and often paired against one another for drills, scrimmages, etc. (Continued)

  20. Tom Langa on September 14th, 2020 7:09 pm

    I was truly saddened to hear of Mike’s passing. I was a classmate at St. Martin’s and considered him a great friend. There were only 12 boys in our 8th grade class so we were a pretty close group. We played basketball together under the coaching of Mike’s dad, who was a great guy and a real gift to us boys. We went our separate ways after SMT, going to rival high schools, and I’m sorry to say we fell out of touch. I wish I had cultivated our friendship into adulthood, as I can tell he was an amazing son, husband, father, coworker, mentor and friend – I can attest to the latter, even if only as a young boy. My heartfelt prayers go out to the entire family – Mrs. K., Bobby, Ronny, Sandy, Adam, Michael Nick– and for the loss of Mr. K. as well. At times like this we lean on and into our Faith, and I have every confidence that Mike has been reunited with his dad, and is not only at peace, but overwhelmed with happiness in the heavenly home we are all striving for. God Bless and Keep You Mike! Pray for me – and let’s go one-on-one again next time we meet, my friend….

  21. Cynthia Ann Anderson on September 15th, 2020 2:05 pm

    Sandy, Michael Jr, Adam, and Nick, please know that I am so sorry over the loss of your beloved husband and father. Covering you with prayer.

    I have so many memories of Mike as a co-worker, golfing buddy and our mothers having worked together at Sam’s Club.

    Rest-in-Peace Mike.

  22. Frances Ulrich on September 15th, 2020 5:22 pm

    I thought the world of Mike, he was so terrific to work with when I was with the county. He and I worked together for many years with the offender project. What a wonderful family man. I love the picture you put in the paper it is perfect. To the family my most truly sincere condolences. Take care at this difficult time. Fran

  23. Frances White on September 15th, 2020 6:24 pm

    My Prayers and thoughts go out to the family. Sandy and sons I am so Blessed to have worked with Mike. He was my friend and mentor.
    He will be missed!!
    Blessings to the Family.

  24. Karl Kotlan on September 15th, 2020 7:34 pm

    If a picture is worth a 1000 words, the memorial picture of Mike is priceless, capturing everything about my dear friend in that most awesome Bio about his life’s adventures. Mike and I started at the Cuyahoga County Board of DD at almost exactly the same time, way back before electricity, in 1992. He was always a “go to” friend for me ever since…someone highly respected, fun, caring and compassionate about everything: his family especially, but also his work, play & what was going in your life also (all the ups and downs)…and of course his beloved U of M Wolverines & all
    associated rivals (hint OSU)…something that we argued back and forth, time and again, and always, always, always in the best of fun. There is, today, a giant gaping hole in my heart which I can only do my best to to fill by offering my deepest sympathy to his family on their tremendous loss. He was truly one of a kind. RIP MK.

  25. Lisa Giganti on September 18th, 2020 7:06 pm

    I learned so much at Michael’s “Celebration of Life”.  I always knew that he was special, but I’ve discovered so much more since his sudden passing.  I remember Mike as always having a smile on his face (maybe more of a mischievous grin  ) and a spring in his step, always on the move, always amped up one notch higher than most people.  Like any self-respecting Italian, he was fiercely competitive…at everything:  bocce, golf, swimming, softball, video games and yes, even perfecting Grandma Rose’s meatballs.  He was always chiding, always opinionated, sure of who he was and what he believed, unapologetically himself; and thankfully, always living his life with ferocity, to the fullest – what a blessing.
    I have much to learn from him.  He seemed to have found that ever evasive balance between work and play, between responsibility and living.  I so admire his career choice and his ability to work with passion, trying to make a difference in a very broken system.  He was a social worker for the county for 30+ years championing the developmentally disabled.  He took genuine interest in and ownership of the individuals, children and families that came into his fold and he continued to care for them long after he had to.  He finally moved to his brand new home in Florida last year, but on several trips back to Cleveland since then, he came with a car full of clothes and supplies for the group homes where he had placed so many adults and children in need.  I learned from his son how Michael came to choose his profession – when he was very young, he picked on another boy who he later found out was developmentally disabled.  He was devastated to learn this, so much so that he vowed not only to never hurt such an individual again, but in fact, he would protect and advocate for them.  What an amazing gesture to the world.  My cousin was truly one of the good guys.  Gone way too soon but having left a beautiful imprint here on earth.  I hope his boys know they have a remarkable role model – no, not perfect, but very special and certainly worthy of emulation.  I’m still having a hard time coming to terms with his sudden passing, but I’m beginning to settle on this – God needed his light on the other side.  I have no doubt that he is lit up and amped up more than ever right now, absolutely blown away by what he’s seeing in heaven.  I pray that he hears all of our praise, that he knows how proud we are and how much we will miss his enthusiasm, his passion, his decency and his heart.  Rest in peace, dear cousin.  With much love, Lisa.

  26. Vincent Holland on September 21st, 2020 8:38 am

    Mike and I worked at the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas together. He had a personality that filled the room, and he always spoke about sports and his family. He will be missed by every person he touched.

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