Michael Lee Faraca died peacefully at his home in West Tisbury, on Tuesday, August 28, surrounded by family and friends. He died just the way he lived, with integrity, courage and on his own terms.
Michael was born in Newton on June 6, 1956. He grew up in another resort town, Brockton, where he played on a couple of state championship football teams. He graduated from Colby College in 1978 as president of the senior class with a major in business and a minor in frisbee.
After working the charter boat trade in the Caribbean, Mike came to the Vineyard and started Brushworks Painting in the 1980s. In 1987 he married the love of his life, Susanne Chlastawa, who was then managing the Edgartown Inn. He first noticed her through the office window, which he painted over and over until she finally acknowledged him. They traveled the world many times over during their 25 years of marriage.
The greatest joy of Mike’s life was his son, Lee Joon. Sometimes you couldn’t tell the difference between the parent and the child. Lee taught Mike how to play chess, always letting Mike think that he had somewhat of a chance until the final checkmate. Lee loved to play soccer and even let Mike think he could coach the younger kids for awhile. But above all there was a mutual respect for Korean culture in the Faraca household, whether it was perfecting the bulgogi beef recipe, rooting for the Korean National soccer team, or seeing who could eat the most kimchi before your head blew off! Mike’s only regret in his early departure from this world is not being able to continue the wonderful relationship they shared.
A regular at Lambert’s Cove Beach, he found peace, beauty and many great friends there. He was often seen bike riding along many of the Vineyard’s bike paths. He especially enjoyed hosting tailgate parties after Lee Joon’s soccer games.
A lover of games, he particularly enjoyed a round of chess with Lee and a daily scrabble game with Susanne. He initiated a weekly neighborhood ping pong group that still thrives today.
Mike’s gardening business, The Avant Gardener, was his true calling in life. It was the only thing he ever did where time went by so fast he didn’t need to look at his watch. He was self-taught and developed his formal English garden style from the architecture of downtown Edgartown. Mike worked on some of the same properties for over 25 years, and after a while, the gardens started to speak back to him. His work was published in several Vineyard gardening books and he felt privileged to make a living out of his passion.
In lieu of flowers, Mike would want you to just go out in your garden and have fun.
His family wants to acknowledge the many angels in the wings who made this transition as comfortable as possible. You know who you are. When he gets to the other side, he said he would leave his foot in the door for you.
A celebration of Mike’s life will be announced at a later date.