Sept. 24, 1943 – April 30, 2017
Michael ( Mike ) Delaney died in Seattle, Washington April 30, 2017. Born in Concord, Massachusetts on Sept. 24, 1943, he was the son of Ellen Emerson and Robert Mills Delaney. Raised on ranches in Wyoming and Montana with his brothers Ed and Bruce, Mike attended rural one room schoolhouses until high school. Graduating with the Class of ‘61 from high school in Sheridan, Wyoming, he quickly joined the rock & roll band “The Walkers”, based in Miles City, MT. A brilliant drummer, Mike played for them when they backed both Chubby Checker and Buddy Knox in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He then went on to inspire and co-found “The INFERNOS”, Sheridan, Wyoming’s first rock n roll band with Gean Robinson, Alan Hall and his brother Bruce. “The INFERNOS” played gigs in Wyoming, Montana, Denver and Salt Lake City in the early ‘60’s. Mike was an innovative, sensitive musician whose taste was ahead of most his contemporaries, even his bandmates, in picking up on musicians like Seattle’s “Wailers” and Ruth Brown before they ever reached KOMA territory. He was also versatile on the piano and guitar. Mike attended community colleges in Sheridan and Miles City before graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Philosophy in 1966. He then joined International Volunteer Services, an American non-profit, learned Viet Namese, and went to Sa Dec in the Mekong Delta of Viet Nam. There he worked on small community development projects alongside local officials, farmers, civil servants and teachers. Mike was able to use his ranching skills in finding practical solutions to difficult problems in their war-torn country. After the Tet offensive in 1968, Mike returned to the USA and studied sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. His mentor and the professor who guided his PdD thesis was Erving Goffman, a renowned Canadian sociologist whom Mike greatly admired and, in fact, wrote a 700-page monograph as a tribute to the man. Mike moved to the Pacific Northwest in the seventies with two cats and his Gibson guitar. After running a bookstore on Whidby Island, he worked for several years as a paralegal for law firms in Seattle and Los Angeles. Mike was an avid reader, a prodigious thinker, and a writer with a limitless vocabulary based on daily reading of the Oxford English Dictionary. He frequented libraries and bookstores in search of provocative new thoughts on politics, sociology, economics, and literature. He read each issue of the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Review of Books, and enjoyed sparring with critics and friends on any literary or political subject. He also authored at least one novel and perhaps a play, all as yet unpublished. Remembrance and Commemoration will be held Fri. Nov. 3, 2017 at the Inner Circle Room of the Sheridan County Library @ 1:30 PM. Public invited.