Michael Lynn Emmons passed away Friday November 27, 2015 from a heart condition that unfortunately shadowed him in recent years. He was on a sunny afternoon walk around Lake Cascade in Orinda with lifelong love and best friend, Gail Emmons.
For those who never met Mike, he can be summed up in two words: Humility and Generosity. A prince in plain clothes, his view of the world filled many of us with the joy he felt every waking minute. He was a brilliant man, with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and perspective. Few could match his command for recalling historical events, citing dates and key figures as if reading from a book.
To understand Mike, let’s start near the beginning. Growing up running barefoot every summer over gravel roads with his brothers laid a foundation that produced an All-American football star at Albany High, where he won the Emmons Leadership Award honoring his beloved brother Pat who died tragically early that year. He took his winning attitude to The University of Washington who became 1960 NCAA Football Champions. Mike earned his Undergraduate and Law Degree at The University of Washington.
On June 14, 1963, Gail Williams of Corvallis, Oregon became Mrs. Michael L. Emmons…the love of his life for over 52 years. After earning a Masters in Tax Law from NYU, he joined Arthur Andersen out of Portland in 1967. Making partner in 1975, the family lived overseas twice during his 34 year career. Hong Kong became home 1974-1978, where Mike was President of the American Chamber of Commerce. He joined the Tokyo office 1990-1993. Living in China and Japan had a lasting impact on daughters Lisa and April, establishing a deep appreciation for world culture, history, and a shared passion for adventure travel.
From 1993 through retirement in July 2001, Mike was based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He formed an in-house worldwide tax organization for Andersen Consulting. His team developed the strategic plan to reorganize what emerged as the world’s leading consulting firm: Accenture. Mike was among key executives to ring the bell on Wall Street July 2001 when Accenture, LLP listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Retirement followed, enjoying extensive travel with Gail and family. Together, Mike and Gail visited over 75 countries and all 7 Continents. Days in Orinda or their second home in Sisters, Oregon were filled with family time, fly-fishing, photography, and golf. August 1, 2013 proved a special occasion as Mike fired a hole-in-one at Black Butte Ranch!
A supportive and endlessly proud husband, Mike captured memorable moments attending Gail’s Ikebana Floral Exhibitions and Demonstrations. Known as BaBa to his Grandchildren, he never missed an opportunity to attend and capture on film their many birthdays, performances, musicals, concerts, and sporting events.
Flying was his ultimate retirement dream. Mike logged thousands of nautical miles throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 2004 he lived out a childhood fantasy co-piloting a P-51D Mustang. Growing up in the 1940’s, the events of World War II loomed large in his imagination. Many trips to Europe included visits to famous battle locations to retrace the footsteps of WWII leaders.
Mike’s desire to give back and contribute benefited several Boards. He made a lasting impact through key policy decisions, land grants, product improvements, real estate, infrastructure planning, and strategic direction for executive committees at Black Butte Ranch, Oregon, Mentor Corporation, and The Deschutes Land Trust, Oregon.
He was born June 13, 1941 in Salem, Oregon to Navy Capt. C.S. “Pat” and Mildred Emmons. The fourth among five siblings, he is survived by brother Terence and Victoria Emmons and sister Karen Emmons. Brothers David and Pat, Jr. are deceased.
Mike is also survived by his loving wife and lifelong companion Gail Williams Emmons, daughters Lisa Emmons Hallahan and April Emmons Asai, sons-in-law Jack Hallahan and Hiroki Asai, and six Grandchildren; Patrick Hallahan, Helena Hallahan, Griffith Hallahan, Niko Asai, Kai Asai, and Masa Asai.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Deschutes Land Trust: either online or via mail to: Deschutes Land Trust, 210 NW Irving Ave., Suite 102, Bend, OR, 97703.