Michael Robert Drinane, Sr. 72, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 1, 2014 surrounded by family. He was born on June 9, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois to Clare and Robert Drinane and spent his childhood days being doted on by his aunts, playing football with the boys, swimming in Gage’s Lake, and sledding down dead man’s hill with his younger brother, David. He attended St. John of God Grade School and graduated from Leo High School. He received his degree in accounting from Loyola University where he excelled in his studies and graduated early though he admitted to rarely buying the textbooks.
After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Genanne. His first child, Jennifer, was born on his twenty-sixth birthday, and Michael Jr. and Dana were born after the family moved to Tinley Park, Illinois. He became an active member of St. Damian’s parish. He used his creative talents and love of music to write and direct numerous large-scale productions for the benefit of the church. He also belonged to the Jaycees, a respected community service organization, at one time serving as president. There, he shared his gifts by planning and coordinating many successful fundraisers, including an annual Fourth of July carnival and an annual haunted house, much to the delight of countless members of the community.
During this time, he was greatly enjoying his work at US Gypsum, a job he began directly out of college. He was in sales and frequently won incentive trips, allowing Genanne and him to travel all over the world. In 1980, he was offered a promotion which took the family to Overland Park, Kansas. Despite their deep ties to Chicago, the family quickly came to love Kansas so much that Michael even declined a promotion that would have meant another move, and he continued his work with US Gypsum in Overland Park until his retirement.
Though he was extremely involved in the community and successful in his work, his true joy was with his children. His youngest child, Anni, was born in 1983, and he was very busy devoting his time to two teenagers, an elementary student, and a baby. He could frequently be found helping with homework, coaching basketball, baseball, softball, and track, enduring (but thoroughly enjoying) Indian Guides and Indian Princesses, and patiently and enthusiastically listening to countless band concerts of dubious quality. He particularly loved family vacations. He provided the children with wonderful memories of Disney World, Wauconda, California, and particularly, the yearly trips to the condo at the Lake of the Ozarks.
At a young age, he was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a rare form of frontal-temporal dementia. Though the news devastated his family, he was still able to share his sparkling personality, sense of humor, and love of music for a number of years, much to the delight of his grandchildren. As the disease progressed, his gift of words failed him, but his ability to connect with his loved ones endured, and his family never questioned his love and devotion.
By 2012 his disease progressed to the point at which he could no longer remain at home. Though heartbroken, the family made the unavoidable decision to move him into the skilled nursing department of Garden Terrace at Overland Park where he was taken care of by the excellent staff who soon came to love his gentle nature and warm smile.
In August of 2014, Michael and Genanne celebrated their fiftieth anniversary surrounded by family, music, and laughter. Sadly, as a natural progression of the disease, his health rapidly declined soon after, and he passed away on November 1, 2014. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Visitation will be Friday, November 7, 2014 from 10:30 to noon at Holy Cross Catholic Church 8311 W. 93rd Street Overland Park, Kansas. Mass will be at noon followed by burial at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Michael’s memory to the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University – Searle Building, 11th Floor, 320 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611.