Longtime broadcaster, Biloxi volunteer Gary Michiels dies

Longtime broadcaster, Biloxi volunteer Gary Michiels dies

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After a years-long battle with Alzheimer's disease, broadcasting icon Gary Michiels of Biloxi died Saturday evening.

It's a loss for family, friends, and his city; but his legacy is one that will last for ages.

Four years ago, he said, "I'm ready if the time comes, and I feel certain that I'm going to keep that attitude when it does."

And, he did just that.

"Gary managed this disease - this horrific disease - incredibly well and beautifully right to the very end," said his wife, Lisa Cumbest Michiels.

The gathering of family and friends at the Michiels house is an indication of the kind of person he was. Lisa has been his caregiver since he was diagnosed with the disease in 2013.

"I want them to remember this kind gentleman who loved this community and would do anything to support this community," Lisa said. "I want them to remember this man full of integrity."

The award-winning journalist, who also wrote for print, had a silky voice made for radio. But, it was his integrity and commitment that cultivated a following.

"He was one of those people that never - no matter what you asked him to do - it was never going to be no," said family friend Bill Raymond. "It was always going to be, 'I'm going to make this work.' "

After his diagnosis, Gary Michiels wanted to create a directive for everyone during his battle.

"He also left a list of things he wanted to be sure his children knew," Lisa added. "Things about being kind to one another, and that family are the most important things - the most important support system you have - and to love each other."

It was a message well received by daughter, Hillary Hanning. She wants her father to be remembered for his true nature.

"Just how kind and lovely he was. He had the best heart," Hillary said. "I was watching a movie the other day and a line from it keeps hitting me. The line was, 'There are people masquerading on this earth as humans who are actually angels.' He was truly an angel...."

Funeral services for Michiels will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Nativity Cathedral in Biloxi, with visitation prior to service.

Interment will be at 3 p.m. at Caswell Springs Cemetery in Wade.

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