Michael Stanley Krawczyk Jr. passed away on Saturday, May 17, 2014, in Norman. Memorial services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, May 24, at the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, 600 NW 13th St.
Mike Krawczyk was born on Oct. 1, 1949, in Tulsa. He was the first of four children and attended public high school in Ardmore. He was a caddie, an altar boy, an Eagle Scout, a lifeguard and a waiter, among other things.
In 1967, he turned down an art scholarship to study political science for a year before joining the U.S. Navy in 1968. In 1969, he was seriously injured in an ordinance accident. Upon partial recovery, he accepted a Congressional fleet appointment from Congressman Carl Albert to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
When Mike elected to reject a medical discharge, the U.S. Navy assigned him to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. Upon honorable discharge from the Navy after four years, he married Bernadette Kurta in 1972 and moved back to Oklahoma to attend the University of Oklahoma on the GI bill. He served as chairman of the Midwest City Art Board and helped stage the Midwest City Art Show for five years.
Receiving his BFA in 1978, he went to work for the U.S. Air Force as an illustrator. There, he won the Copy Desk Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award and the Commander In Chief’s Award for graphic excellence.
He sold his first cartoon at age 14 and made extra cash throughout his life doing caricatures of high-ranking military personnel. In 1982, he left government service and embarked on a career as a cartoonist. In 1997, Mike and his wife moved to Norman, and in 1999, he met Stan Solloway. In 2002, they began “Silliman on Sports,” a comical look at the sports world that has run for 16 years. In the last 12 years, they published five books together. He also served as editorial cartoonist for the Oklahoma Gazette and the Oklahoma Observer.
He was deeply involved with disabled veterans issues, and was a longtime member of the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center’s athletic team as a gold-medal-winning swimmer. In the last few years, he spent a lot of time reading, swimming, playing golf, walking, landscaping and generally enjoying life.
He is survived by his wife and soulmate of 43 years, Bernadette Krawczyk. He was a gracious and loving father to his son, Geoffrey Krawczyk, and daughter-in-law, Liz Chow, and a wonderful grandfather to his grandsons, Syd Jones and Oki Krawczyk. He left behind his siblings, Mary Seagrave, Mark Krawczyk and Marty Kraft and wife Lorie, and his wife’s brothers Martin Kurta, Joe Fidandis and Nick Fidandis and wife Shirley. He was known as “Crazy Uncle Mike” to his eight nieces and nephews and eight great-nieces and nephews. He will be missed dearly by his family and wonderful circle of friends.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in the name of Michael S. Krawczyk Jr. to the OU Foundation, 100 Timberdell Road, Norman, OK 73019.
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But, today is a gift. That’s why it’s called The Present.”