Michael Joseph Gilbride, 81, passed into eternity after a long illness. Surrounded by his loving wife of 49 years, Catherine “Cathy” Cole Gilbride, and his adoring daughters, Karen and Megan, Mike drew his final breaths amid the sounds of their voices as his favorite Irish music played softly in the background.
Born December 4, 1939, in New York City to Irish immigrant parents, Mike, or Joe as he was called in his youth, grew up in a close-knit Irish Catholic community in Manhattan. As a boy he loved the New York Yankees, playing handball, and hanging out in the city with his older brother, John, cousin Frank, and friends from the neighborhood. He attended Ascension School for his primary education and the De La Salle Institute for high school.
Everyone who knew Mike throughout his life remarked on his exceptional mathematical ability, even Governor of New York Jacob Javits, who sent him a letter of commendation for his perfect math score on the Regents Exam. Mike attended Manhattan College finished his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, and received an MBA from George Washington University.
Mike’s father, John Gilbride, and mother, Bridget Hopkins, emigrated as teenagers from County Leitrim and County Mayo, respectively. They worked hard to provide a good education and a loving home for their sons. John carried with him Mike’s first pay stub as a reminder of the progress a single generation could achieve in the United States.
Mike moved to Washington, D.C., in the mid-1960s and met Cathy Cole on a blind date in 1969. They married in December 1971, settled in Virginia, and had two daughters. While working for the Federal Communications Commission, Mike formed wonderful friendships with his co-workers, whose company he cherished long after he retired. He later went to work in the private sector, traveling for business to the far-flung corners of the world from Jordan to Japan.
He loved his sons-in-law, Keith Crowder (Karen) and Wesley Turner (Megan), and reveled in story time, playground visits, and trips to the ice cream parlor with his beloved grandchildren, Zoe and Marek Crowder, and Ulysses Turner.
Mike’s 81 years on this earth are bookended by pandemics. At the age of two he contacted polio while on summer holiday in the Catskills. He endured a long recovery which imbued him with a zest for life and fun. Mike Gilbride excelled at fun. He loved to laugh and make others laugh. He made friends wherever he went and he was always grateful for those friendships. We will miss him more than words can express. In the lottery of life we all hit the jackpot with him as a husband, father, grandfather and friend.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, July 16, 2021, at St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church, Orrtanna, with Rev. Dominic M. DiBiccaro as celebrant. Immediately following the Mass, interment will be in the church cemetery.
Donations in his name may be made to VITAS Community Connection, the hospice service that took such wonderful care of him in his last years. The mailing address is VITAS Healthcare, VCC Fund, 3251 Old Lee Highway, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22030.
Monahan Funeral Home in Gettysburg is in charge of the local arrangements.