Sept. 22, 1943 - Nov. 5, 2021
Born during World War II to Alice Richards in Loders, Dorset, England, Michael was lovingly and regretfully given up 6 months later. He was adopted by Edwin and Lily Vincent (deceased) and grew up gazing at the Atlantic Ocean on the Isle of Portland. He adored his sister Maureen (deceased) who was 4 years older. In his teenage years, he did extremely well in school and became proficient in cricket, soccer, tennis, table tennis, pool and darts.
After high school he pursued his passion of being an artist. He attended Bournemouth and Poole College of Art from 1961- 65 gaining the National Diploma of Design (N.D.D.) He became an art teacher first at a secondary school in Southampton from 1966-72 and later a graphics teacher at Queens College in Nassau from1972 to 1975. He also taught an adult pottery class in the Bahamas where he met Judy Atkinson. Later at a dance they were both smitten. Michael immigrated to Canada in 1976 and married Judy in Canmore, her hometown. Their children, Michael-John and Morgan completed their lives, arriving in the early 80’s. Judy continued teaching and Michael looked after their children and continued with his artwork at home.
This is when his life as a freelance artist really started to flourish. Initially, he involved himself in very detailed, realistic pen ink drawings of the wood framed miner’s houses that fascinated him. He was commissioned by many people to draw their houses, portraits, old barns, wildlife and logos. He delved into the realm of experimental printmaking using wood, linoleum, card and glass. By the late 1980’s, he moved to painting the mountain vistas and seascapes of his original home with acrylics. He had many joint and one-man exhibitions in England, Bahamas and Canada and his artwork is hanging in many places around the world. In 2006, Michael was a nominee for the Mayor’s Award for Artistic Achievement. To quote the nominators, “Michael’s images are immediately powerful and evoke a curiosity about our past, our heritage and significantly, provide wonderful insight to our current community as it strives to create a future Canmore while remaining mindful of its past.”
Michael was an active member of the community. He was a founding member of the Canmore Artist and Artisan’s Guild, the Canmore Folk Festival, the Canmore Museum, Canmore Pine Tree Players, and the Lamphouse Society for the Arts that became the impetus for artsPlace. He was Chair of Canmore’s 1983 Centennial Committee, and Co-coordinator of the 1988 Winter Olympic pageantry for Canmore and Kananaskis. He was a councilor for the Town of Canmore for one term in the early 2000’s. In sports, Michael was a founding member of the Canmore Tennis Club and helped start up Canmore Little League Baseball, both of which continue to thrive. He organized the Mountain Cricket Club (MCC), table tennis at the Legion and relished many years of weekly games of darts, golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Michael loved his many gatherings with his wonderful English friends and relatives from both his adopted and birth families. Known as “The Cool Uncle in Canada,” Michael will be missed by Helen (Len) and their two sons and Paul (Juliette) and their two sons. “Big Sis”, Wendy Legg and family in England, with whom he became joyfully reunited in their later years and completed the puzzle in his life, will miss his visits and phone calls. Michael’s Honeybunch and her parents will hold him close to their hearts. His college friends will remember him at their annual reunions. Likewise, he will be remembered by his friends from his time in the Bahamas, friends in Canada, Judy's family in Canada and the USA, and, of course, his special friends in Canmore plus his recently deceased friend Peter, who will discuss soccer with him in the Great Unknown.
Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Lipinski who first flagged his health issues, Dr. Guenther who diagnosed his Bronchiectasis, “Dr. John” Michalyshyn who cared for him through his countless health issues, Dr. Jarrand, pulmonologist, Dr. Slanych, cardiologist and Dr. Morris, rheumatologist and the many amazing workers of our health system who have supported him in countless ways over many decades.
A Celebration of his Life will hopefully take place in the Spring of 2022.
Michael’s loving family will remember him as the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate person they have ever known. He was proud of his sons and missed seeing his grandson and namesake, Michael Oberg. Judy was blessed to be with him 47 years as Leonard Cohen said, to “Dance Me to the End of Love.“