Michael William Altenburg

at-4Michael William Altenburg was born August 22, 1947 in Great Falls, Montana. 

Michael’s love for fishing, hunting and the outdoors was nurtured by his family and friends during his early years in Montana and became a at-2lifelong passion.  He attended Great Falls High School, where he participated in varsity wrestling and football.  The summer before his high school senior year, his family relocated to Bremerton, Washington.  Michael quickly made new friends and joined the football and wrestling teams at East Bremerton High. 

Michael attended Olympic Junior College for two years and then enlisted in the United States Navy.   Following his military service, Michael attended Western Washington University where he received his Business Degree, and met his wife of 40 years, Bonnie (Gabelein).  


 Michael began his career in the banking industry before opening Northwest Discovery Gallery in Bellevue Square.  Together, Michael and Bonnie managed one of the premier galleries in the area, specializing in fine woodwork, blown glass and jewelry.  Later, Michael and Bonnie opened Elements Gallery in Bellevue Place which they operated until this past year when they sold the business.  Michael also enjoyed his work as a real estate agent serving the Eastside where he made many friends.

One of Michael’s greatest joys was the birth of their son, Jeffrey on July 15, 1983. Michael loved teaching Jeffrey to fish, play guitar and passed on his appreciation for nature and the outdoors.


The Union Hill area of Redmond has been their home for the past 30 years.  Michael loved the family pets who were also his faithful hunting companions. Bailey will miss pheasant hunting and playing ball in the backyard with his best buddy.

Michael and Bonnie were happiest spending time fishing, snowmobiling and camping in Montana and Washington.  As a couple, they especially enjoyed their annual trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico each year to recover from the retail holiday season, rising daily at 5 AM to surf fish.At-1 copy

Michael was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) less than 1 year ago and faced this challenge with great strength and courage.  He passed away peacefully in his sleep May 14, 2013, at his Redmond home.  Michael was preceded in death by his mother, Beverlee.  He is survived by his wife Bonnie,  son Jeffrey,  father Walter, brother Bob (Laurie) and a large circle of extended family and friends.

The family wishes to thank Evergreen Hospice, the in-home caregivers, friends and family who showed amazing compassion and support during Michael’s illness. Michael’s brother Bob spent almost every day helping Michael and they enjoyed sharing memories and stories. Michael said many times, “Bob is the best brother anyone could ever have.”

A celebration of Michael’s life will be Saturday, June 29th at 1:30 at Redmond Ridge Community Center, 10735 Cedar Park Crescent NE, Redmond WA .  The family requests any memorials be sent to the ALS Association-Evergreen Chapter, 19115 68th Avenue South, Suite H105, Kent, Washington 98032.  Their online web page address is www.alsa-ec.org. 


20 Responses to “Michael William Altenburg”

  • Sandy Marshall says:

    Rob and I will surely miss our brother in law, Michael and the boys’will miss their “Uncle Mike”. We are so glad the boys got home from college to see him this weekend. It was sad to see the toll of ALS on his body, but he told us he was ready to go. We are thankful he went peacefully at home in his sleep. What we will all remember the most are the many special times together in Index, Cle Elum and Maxwelton. Always the great outdoorsmen, leading the adventures in the river, snow and at the beach. We will think of you often, especially when we are outdoors, where you loved to be.

  • Jan Witsoe says:

    Dearest Bonnie, Jeffrey and family,

    I’m thinking about you with the loss of this wonderful man and my heart is hurting for you all.

  • Kirk Bohrer says:

    Rest in peace old friend. I’m sure that you have made a difference in many people’s lives, but you made a HUGE difference in mine. I love you and will miss you terribly.

  • Chuck & Dorothy McKinley says:

    Dear Bonnie and Jeffrey we are thinking of you and of all
    the beautiful memories we have of Michael. All of the
    fishing we did, all the crab we ate, and those special
    visits to Hardy Creek. Love You

  • John & Cathy Altringer says:

    Our hearts ache for your loss of Michael. We cherish the memories we had with all of you at Hardy Creek. Blessings to you.

  • Rocky Hughes says:

    Bonnie, God bless you. Michael was blessed to have such a loving and caring wife. He will be missed. I’m sorry that I did not have more time with Michael. However, I will never forget the many wonderful times we shared.

  • Tim Gabelein says:

    My youth has been greatly shaped by my Uncle Mike and our time spent together in Cle Elum, Index and Maxwelton. I will always cherish our times together at every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I could not have asked for a better Uncle and my prayers are with Aunt Bonnie and Jeff during this time. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

  • Melanie Forko says:

    Many years ago, my second job was at Northwest Gallery. Your kindness, professionalism, and family values were something I will always cherish. My warm thoughts are with you. May your wonderful memories together bring you comfort.

  • Jeff and Linda Paine says:

    Michael was a very special person and the very best neighbor one could ask for. We will miss him dearly and will constantly recall his gentle personality, warm compassion and strong love for life and the outdoors. He touched the lives of our family in positive ways that will forever transcend his life, one of the very true measures of a person. Mike, rest in peace knowing you were loved by many and had a life well lived.

  • Francie House says:

    Bonnie and family,

    I was sad to read in the paper about Michael’s illness and passing. He always had a warm smile to offer when we worked together at Windermere. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Ray and Laurie Gabelein says:

    We are definitely going to miss “Uncle Mike”. Ray enjoyed all his time fishing and hunting with Mike, especially the pheasant hunts in the marsh at the farm. We will always remember the special times at Index, Cle Elum, Maxwelton as well as all the family gatherings. Mike lived life to the fullest and never got tired of catching the next fish or bagging the next bird. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bonnie, Jeff and family. Bonnie was very devoted in caring for Michael during his courageous battle with ALS, and is an inspiration to our family. Rest in Peace Michael. We love you.

  • Jason and Jill Willison says:

    Mike was a great neighbor and friend. He battled his illness with bravery and kept his sense of humor all the way through. I always enjoyed talking with Mike over the last 7+ years and appreciated his no-nonsense attitude. Our family will all miss him dearly.

  • Carmen Halstrom says:

    My heart goes out to you and the family. I will truly miss Michael and all the laughs we shared. Love you and sending you hugs.

  • Lynnand Dave Mathews says:

    Time is a funny thing. It has been a very long time since we have seen the Altenburg’s yet in my heart they are very close and dear to us. You know how sometimes in life you have a significant moment that you don’t even really know how important it is until you look back. I worked for Michael and Bonnie a million years ago at Northwest Discovery.
    Work, it was more than that, Michael taught me to appreciate, live and breathe American crafts.
    My fondest memories are of receiving shipments from the woodworking artists only to “fight” over which wood box was ours, we would even hide them from each other! But the best was when I discovered a coveted box in my coat pocket at Christmas time as a special thank you. Michael and Bonnie treated us more like family than employees, sharing their home and Index cabin with us.
    I was driving on the freeway after hearing the news about Michael and thinking how upset I was when a lovely memory came floating back to me that made me smile, laugh and even swerve a bit!
    Mike and Bonnie had taken us to a special spot on the river we were sitting basking on immense boulders saying it is so nice you could almost go swimming. Before Bonnie and I knew what was happening Dave and Mike had shed their clothes and jumped in the river!

    Thank you Michael for all that you gave us, Lynn and Dave Mathews

  • Jeff and Sue Bethune says:

    We have known Iron Mike since the 70’s – met in college at WWU – so many good memories there. Mike was best man at our wedding 35 years ago. We’ve had good times over the years – BA Beach, the cabin, Washougal River, dinners, good wines, friendship…
    We will always treasure those memories. Mike was one of those guys you never forget – he left a lasting impresion on those he met.
    Dear Bonnie and Jeffrey, we continue to lift you daily in our prayers for strength, comfort, and courage as you move forward to face each new day.
    In His time and our love,
    Jeff & Sue

  • Dugan & Mary says:

    Michael was a wonderful man, and our friend – always gracious and fun, sometimes naughty but nice, loved his family, revelled in nature/fishing/camping…
    It’s almost unreal that he’s gone, but certainly not forgotten. The pictures of the Altenburgs on the wall in our home attest to them as a family, and one we spent many happy times with.
    We are blessed to have had Mike share his life with us, and will remember and miss him a lot. He was a special guy.
    Our love to Bonnie and Jeff always,
    Dugan and Mary

  • kathy, Shannon, & Sean Heneghan says:

    Dear Bonnie and Jeffrey,

    We were very sad to hear of Mike’s passing. He was a wonderful guy and we have many fond memories of him. He was a true “Konan the Barbarian” and loved the outdoors so much. Sean even caught his first salmon while fishing with Mike. We wish you the best, Bonnie.

    Kathy, Shannon, Sean, & Lilly

  • Jamie and Joe Huden says:

    Dear Bonnie and Jeff

    We were so sad to hear about Mike’s passing. I had only met him through our reunions so really didn’t get to know him but reading through your family and friends notes I wish I had. Take care and if you come to the Island call me and we can go out for ice cream.
    Love,Jamie and Joe

  • Marta and Miranda says:

    I will miss Michael terribly. He was my pal. He hired me to work at Northwest Discovery in the early 90’s during a very rough time of my life. I will miss him.

  • Charley&Sandi Stenerson says:

    Dear Bonney and Family,
    It’s with great sadness we learned of Mike’s passing. I’ll always remember what a great guy Mike is. I regret not maintaining contact with Mike and you, and your family, after meeting first Mike, then you, in Bellingham, and after until you lived in Renton. The last time we saw Mike was at Northwest Discovery Gallery when Sandi was pregnant with our first son, who is now 29 years old. Where has the time gone? Mike gave us what I would call a massage roller to help give Sandi some comfort during pregnancy and after. Always looking out for others, one of many things I liked about Mike. Generous to a fault. We wish you and yours the best at this time of terrible loss and hope Mike is at peace.
    Sincerely, Charley and Sandi

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