American Veteran 01

Joseph Michalowski

1948 ~ 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old


Husband, Father, and brother, Joseph S. Michalowski Jr, better known as "Mike", “Gator”, "Deed", or “Biggun” passed away peacefully on March 16, 2023. He fought the good, long fight with health issues in recent years. 

Mike was born November 11, 1948, in Sumter, South Carolina, to Colonel Joseph Michalowski Sr and Eleanor Michalowski-Gibson. He attended Clemson University where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and met his wife, Linda. They were married in 1967 and had 55 wonderful years together. He played football for Clemson and through Linda’s cooking went from the O-line to the D-line in six months. He joined the United States Air Force through the OTC Program, where he was a distinguished graduate. He also has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Troy State University. 

Mike was preceded in death by his grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. J.O. Barwick; father, Colonel Joseph Stanley Michalowski; mother, Eleanor Barwick-Michalowski-Gibson, step-father, Colonel William “Billy” Gibson; son, Joseph Stanley Michalowski III; Evelyn Irish; Earl Irish; Betty Jo Cottingham; Earl Irish Jr; and Jordan Brown. 

He is survived by both his wife, Linda; his daughter Tracy and her children, Amber & Michal; his sisters, Keary Wells and her husband David; Kathy Smiley and her husband Sam; and Kelly Michalowki; Mother-by-marriage, Kathy Irish; Jim Cottingham; Randy Marthis; his nieces and nephews, Austin & Amy, Ashley, Jason & Meredith, Erica, Erin & Jake, Travis & Jenna, Casey & Allie, J.J. and Sean, and 16 great nieces and nephews. 

Referred to as “Gator” throughout his career, he served as the first Commander of the 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron on Eglin AFB, the Inspector General for NORAD and USSPACECOM at Peterson AFB, Deputy Inspector General for the North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson AFB, the second Defense, and Air Attache to Ukraine, and countless other commands. 

Mike enjoyed life daily. He was a best friend, confidant, and joy to everyone that knew him. Nothing pleased him more than driving his BMW, flying, and being with his family.  He spoke more languages than he would admit and enjoyed living in various places all over the world.  He will leave a hole in many hearts that will never be filled.  He is now flying with his father, son, and father-in-law and will never have to pay for all the flight time he is racking up.

The visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 22 at 10:00 am, and services to follow at 11:00 am at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Air Armament Museum Foundation or Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. 


March 22, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (Fort Walton Beach)

Funeral Service
March 22, 2023

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (Fort Walton Beach)

Interment following funeral service
March 22, 2023

Beal Memorial Cemetery
316 Beal Parkway N.W.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548


Air Force Armament Museum Foundation
100 Museum Drive, Eglin Air Force Base FL 323542
Tel: 1-850-585-8334

Holy Trinity Luthern Church
363 Miracle Strip Parkway Southwest, Fort Walton Beach FL 32548
Tel: 1-850-243-0788