Letter from a heartbroken father

Although this was sent as a comment to my post, I feel it’s important that it not be missed. It teaches us to live life to the fullest and count our blessings each day. Michael’s father is able to find some consolation in knowing his son had a great life, dying while doing what he loved.

Mike LaPrade was 27, our oldest son. It’s a heartbreak like no other. #2 son, Matt, 25 is an army paratrooper, soon to be in law school. #3 son, Brandon, 24, is a medical student. #4 son, Zachary, 20, is a college student at Oregon. Alex was the love of his life and I’m sure they would marry. Of the 4 boys, Mike was the biggest, most dominant, most outgoing and friendly. A Michael LaPrade quote, “I like everyone”. And everyone liked him. Mike was an excellent athlete , and had more friends than anyone I ever heard of. (1045 facebook friends!?). He was quite a good athlete and a big guy: football, hockey and lacrosse in high school. He took each sport as far as he could, with weight training, camps etc until he knew he couldn’t get any better. In college, Bentley in Boston, he played every football game all 4 years, despite 3 knee operations. We (his parents), never missed a game, despite the 3000mile trip. He began diving at age 15 and never looked back. His certifications include lots of trimix, deep dive, wreck training, more certification cards that I can remember. He loved doing deep wreck dives with his west coast technical dives friends than anything. I believe my son Mike had fun every day of his life. An indifferent student, he never wasted time studing if something more exciting was possible. He would make his living with his personality, working sales in his uncle’s toy import business. He loved it. Every dollar spent on scuba gear and adventures. Once he had the skills , I suppose diving the Andrea Doria was inevitable. We spoke of it several times, and I didn’t like it at all. It really bothered me because of horrrible risks. But Mike was 27, a man on his own, not his 20 yo bro. Our family is struggling with this heartbreak. We are consoled to a degree because Mike had a great life, full of fun and adventure. He died doing what he loved best, deep wreck diving. 500 people attended his funeral in Phoenix, including diving friends from the west coast, football friends from Boston, a friend from China and a friend from London(Mike saved him from a few “scrapes” in college). His mother and I are just trying to survive, Paul LaPrade

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