Michael Robert Heslop

Michael's Obit Picture

*** In life, part of Michael Law was that no pictures of him were allowed online. In death, we continue to respect his wishes by using a funny version of the Blue Screen of Death as his obituary picture.

In the early morning hours of August 2, 2016, Michael passed away at his home in Kirkland, WA as a result of fighting a yearlong battle with a nefarious criminal called Gallbladder Cancer.  Michael was comforted by family members at the time of his passing.  He was 36 years old and left behind a hell of a lot of stuff that his wife and family have no idea what to do with.  So, if you’re looking for computers, in full or part, hard drives, a stinky, well-used bee suit, the heaviest printer/copier ever made, a mile’s worth of cat5 cable, or maybe a half dozen computer mice still in the packaging, you should wait the appropriate amount of time, and then get in touch.  But this is not an ad for computer parts; this is an obituary for a great man, committed husband, adoring father, and generous friend, brother, and son.

Michael was born on August 20, 1979, in Moses Lake, WA. His parents, Robert and Linda Heslop, were delighted to welcome him into their home as their firstborn. Michael always felt that they should have stopped with him since they would never get anyone better.  Despite his pleadings, they went on to have two more sons (David and Adam) and one daughter (Laura).  Michael’s demise will now allow his siblings to emerge from his shadow and duel for the title of Second Best.  Michael is survived by his deeply loyal and loving wife, Amanda Popek; parents and siblings; and his sweet daughter, Mika, whom he shared with former spouse, Sheri Hiroi-Dubay. Michael was preceded in death by one of his best friends, Kelsey Brown.

As a child, Michael was an energetic handful.  He had mastered frame tray puzzles and walking by 9 months, and once on the move, he was into everything.  In fact, many times his mother had to stand him in the washing machine to keep him out of trouble so she could do the dishes or make dinner.  Don’t worry, it was a top-load machine and she didn’t close the lid.  As he aged, Michael destroyed many a toaster, mainly because his mom told him that if he broke it he would have to fix it, and that was the fun part.  Michael loved to help, especially in the kitchen.  He enjoyed chopping, mixing and making his own delicious creations.

During his early teen years, Michael earned his Eagle Scout. A participant of the Running Start program, he graduated with both his high school diploma and an Associate Degree in Arts and Science at the age of 17 before continuing on to the University of Washington.  While there he received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, not because that was his passion, but rather because it made the most money of all the 4-year degrees and, bonus, he could blow things up legally.

Over the years, Michael had many jobs, and like Lays potato chips, he could never have just one.  He started with selling Christmas cards around town and his mother’s homemade lunches to kids on the bus. During high school, he worked on a farm and at an apiary where he produced honey and trucked bees back and forth between Washington and North Dakota (hence the bee suit still sitting in the garage).  After college, Michael went on to become very well respected in the Computer Forensics industry. While he was the Vice President of eDiscovery and Forensic Services for CloudNine Discovery, he was simply known as “Michael, the computer guy” to the clients of his personal computer business.  He was highly successful, but for all his accomplishments he remained humble.  He prided himself on finding the best deal with every purchase he made.  Michael could get discounts that no one else even knew existed- it’s still baffling to those around him!  He had three basic philosophies regarding money: “it doesn’t hurt to ask”, “everything is negotiable”, and “anything less than 30% savings on groceries isn’t worth it”.

Michael was a computer genius and an incredible jack-of-all-trades. He constantly impressed the women in his life with the ability to fix anything and design and create a myriad of objects from scratch (i.e. fireplace mantel, deck cover). His fabulous daughter, Mika, age 10, is quite certain that he had magic hands.

But of all the titles Michael held in his life, his favorite, by far, was Daddy. Michael LOVED spending time with Mika and looked forward to every visit. He flew down to attend her school field trips, she flew up to visit him, and they went on many adventures during school vacations. Michael knew how precious Mika was, and he loved her in both word and deed. In Mika’s words, “Daddy was a popcorn maker, a pizza eater, and a Gatorade drinker. He was the happiest daddy ever.”

Michael had a passion for traveling and exploring new places, especially with Amanda by his side. They traveled around the world before he was diagnosed, and he decided that cancer wasn’t going to change things. Michael immediately began working on his bucket list, living each moment to the fullest. He surprised his oncology team when he told them of all the places he would be traveling between rounds of chemotherapy.  The team even tried to persuade him to slow down, but quickly learned that Michael lives by his own rules.  During the last year of his life, Michael, Amanda, and Michael’s mom, Linda visited Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Peru, Costa Rica, Canada, North Dakota, Montana, Arizona and the Oregon Coast.  Michael hiked Machu Picchu, rappelled 5 waterfalls, one being over 200 feet tall, kayaked in the mangroves, explored the ruins of Ankgor Wat, road-tripped all over Arizona, Oregon and Montana, and his personal favorite, cared for an elephant for a day.  Michael loved that he was able to take two of his favorite women on these travels, making memories wherever they went. He never allowed his discomfort to interfere with his love for new adventures.  He was true to himself to the bitter end, proving that you don’t just sit around waiting, you make life happen.

His regrets were few, but include not covering the butter he was melting in the microwave, and thus causing “The Butter Bat Incident of 2015”, being too cheap to go to the doctor, and not completing his taxes before he died.  Really, his wife regrets the tax thing, but hey, so should he.

Michael strived to make a positive interaction with every person with whom he came in contact, that is, unless the person worked for customer service and wasn’t giving him what he wanted.  He made lifelong friendships with a multitude of people in various industries within his job and community. He even had connections in the funeral business through his computer services. Michael requested to be cremated using Barton Family Funeral Services, and his family is very grateful for their kindness and compassion during this heartbreaking life change.

Although Michael had a less-than-average life span, he did not live an average life.  He traveled where he wanted to travel, laughed inappropriately at every chance, learned what he wanted to learn, fixed what he wanted to fix, and loved who he wanted to love.

At Michael’s request, no services will be held.  Everyone who remembers Michael is asked to celebrate his life in their own way; negotiate, use a coupon, and never pay full price.  Pizza should be part of any celebration.

As would be expected from the amazing man that Michael was, it’s very important to him that Amanda is taken care of.  To him, flowers are nice, but fleeting.  His wish was that any money that would be spent on flowers or gifts instead be sent via cash or check to Amanda to help pay bills during this difficult time. Monetary donations can be sent to Amanda Popek at 9805 NE 116th St. Suite 7260 Kirkland, WA 98034. If you have a special memory of Michael or anything else you would like to share with his family, shoot an email to RememberMichaelHeslop@gmail.com

“Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

– Mark Twain



12 Responses to “Michael Robert Heslop”

  • Thomas Missel says:

    After moving my office and re-connecting all of my computers I had no sound when I reviewed DVD’s for work. I tried everything, called Michael and as always he squeezed me in and came to my home office. Within about a minute he found that the sound was turned all the way down… we laughed and laughed!

    I will truly miss him.

  • Alan Williamson says:

    Michael has been our “computer guy” for a number of years. I was amazed when we moved our office last year how he interfaced with the contractor, electrician and telephone provider so that when we turned on the computers at the new office everything worked perfectly! (I was expecting a disaster involving days of troubleshooting). Michael would often log in romotely to both our office and personal computers and fix everything within minutes.

    Now understandng his mentality of breaking things when he was younger so that he could fix them, it all seems clearer why he was so good! There will never be another Michael. Amanda,Mika and Heslop family, your are in my thoughts an prayers.

  • Alan Williamson says:

    Michael has been our “computer guy” for a number of years. I was amazed when we moved our office last year how he interfaced with the contractor, electrician and telephone provider so that when we turned on the computers at the new office everything worked perfectly! (I was expecting a disaster involving days of troubleshooting). Michael would often log in romotely to both our office and personal computers and fix everything within minutes.

    Now understandng his mentality of breaking things when he was younger so that he could fix them, it all seems clearer why he was so good! There will never be another Michael. Amanda,Mika and Heslop family, your are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Michelle Forrest says:

    He worked out in dress socks and shoes. Puts such a smile on my face to think about.

  • Joel says:

    Whenever I had to pick up client media, it was a given that he would answer his door in boxers. Without fail. Made me laugh every time.

    One of the smartest people I have met in life. Extremely intelligent.

    Thoughts and prayers to you and your family, Michael.

  • Patty Tower says:

    Michael is truly the jack of all trades as they say. He was a great friend, manager, computer guy, finance guy, negotiator, etc. The best part about him is his willingness to help, without complaints whatsoever. He took every opportunity to take advantage of company paid lunches and we used to make fun of him for wearing Walmart cargo shorts. He did not care, and we loved him anyway.
    He loved Mika very much, he talked about her all the time. He and I would send each other photos of our children before he passed. He was one proud daddy. You are missed, Michael. Praying God will provide for your family in this time of grief.

  • Julie Steig says:

    Michael is my nephew. We were only 11 years apart so he was more like a cousin or a brother to me. He was a wonderful person, always willing to help me with any technical question I had. He kept me in computers and taught me how to use them. We had a lot of fun in our younger years and also as we got older and would all meet up on the farm in ND. He had a heart of gold. He was truly one of a kind.

  • Katie Steig says:

    Michael is my older cousin. He was always a blast to hang out with and he always had something funny to say. One of my favorite memories with him was sitting in his living room eating turkey tacos, drinking wine and playing Mario Cart with him and Mika. He was an absolutely amazing person and will truly be missed.

  • Annelies Paulweber, Gintherhof, Austria says:

    Dear Amanda and family,
    It made us very sad when we get your email with the news of Michael’s death. He was so young and it’s just too early. We’re all so sorry and we want you and your family to express our deepest sympathy.
    Michael has done so much for us. He translated our webpage into English, which is very helpful for us.
    We will keep Michael in dear and good memories.
    Is it right – I think it is 2 years ago, when you stayed the last time with us, there was Michaels sister and mum with you, and there befor I think it is 4 or 5 years ago. (Lisa was a little girl).

    There are no matching words of comfort in this heavy, sad time. I wish you but with all my heart for people who share this painful loss with you and to provide stability in this terrible time.

    The memory of your dear husband can take you no more, and they will help you in this to find your smile again, when you think of Michael.

    It is never the right time,
    It is never the right day,
    It is never said anything
    It’s never done, everything
    It is too early
    and yet…
    There are memories, memory, thoughts, stories, feelings, lived together, heights and depths – simple moments – the unique, beautiful, unforgettable, that especially, which simply were.
    And the moments to hold it, to catch, to keep in mind is.

    Michael, thank you for everything!!!! R.I.P.

  • Paul Burich says:

    Oh my goodness. What a sad shock.

    I only knew Michael through on line dealings. He was an absolute wizard–make that Grand Wizard–of all things computerized and for years every computer that I purchased was first turned over to Michael’s able hands to set it up properly. He would begin one process, and go away and do other things. Through texts, emails, and the occasional phone call he would manage to resolve all computer issues while sitting hundreds of miles away from my home. And when he was done? An invoice arrived that was always for too low an amount.

    There is, of course, no replacing a man like Michael. Thank you so very much, Amanda, for sending me the link to this wonderful obituary. The picture that it paints is of a man who really learned what was important in life at a very early age. You were lucky to have him–but that makes it only more poignant that it was far too brief a life together.

    God bless you and your family.

  • Colin Attwood says:

    I am a friend of Michael’s from New York. I got to know Micheal when the company I was working for at the time contracted services from Micheal’s company. Micheal and I became fast friends and enjoyed many long and often humorous conversations on the phone which would weave and meander all over the place.

    We would also meet up when Micheal would visit New York on business over the past few years. Our most recent was a lunch earlier this year in February (2016).

    Michael was the perfect balance of kindness, humor and technical and having the Blue screen of death makes perfect sense as an epitaph, so that even in passing he makes me/us laugh and smile though the tears.

    I miss you my friend.

  • Brenda Grigg says:

    In random moments you might trigger a memory… today I remembered Mike. He was friends with me and my brother in high school, and was even my homecoming date one year. He really cleaned up well, considering he worked for my father’s honey company and I was used to his trademark look with a ratty white t-shirt. He was always working extremely hard, up to 12 hour days in the summer months. When I was saving up money and working extra hours, he was the last one working each night. He spent so much time with my family, he was practically family.

    We all went our own ways after high school. I found out about Mike passing away from my mother years ago, but didn’t know how to respond… I felt I had to say something and leave a comment now, though.

    He was definitely one of a kind and had a love for life like no one else.


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