David Michelman '65


The following article is from the Detroit Free Press.

David Michelman: Leader in mental health services

October 16, 2003


Holly resident and psychologist David Michelman died suddenly Monday at a conference of mental health professionals in Traverse City. He was 60.

Mr. Michelman, a licensed clinical psychologist, retired almost three years ago from Genesee County Community Mental Health, where he served as deputy director and program chief of mentally ill adult services. He worked there for 30 years.

A year later, at the behest of a longtime colleague he had hired years earlier, he took a job at New Passages, a organization that runs group homes and does outreach for the mentally ill homeless population in such counties as Oakland, Macomb and Genesee. He served as regional program director for outpatient services in clinics in Macomb and Genesee counties.

Mr. Michelman figured he would finally retire for good in two years, so he and his wife, Janet, could take the long trips they dreamed about.

Janet Michelman met her husband 20 years ago at a party given by a mutual friend, but he did not ask her out until they met again a year later. Then it took more than five years of dating for him to propose. He was 45 when they wed.

Mr. Michelman loved the thrust and parry of politics, which he read about avidly, and loved books and good food. He also watched a lot of sports and was still pretty good at basketball, Janet Michelman said.

Bob Sprague, chief operating officer of New Passages, was hired at Genessee County Mental Health in 1978 by Mr. Michelman. It was he who coaxed Mr. Michelman out of retirement two years ago and put him to work at New Passages.

"He was widely known throughout the state; he was a pioneer in the community mental health movement," Sprague said.

Mr. Michelman also was involved with the day treatment programs at Genesee Community Mental Health.

Besides his wife, Mr. Michelman is survived by stepdaughters Kristin Harrington and Kara Herdrich; two stepgrandchildren, and a sister.