Dr. Wilford McLain Michael, Jr., 96, passed away peacefully on October 19, 2018 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, California surrounded by his family. A memorial service was held November 1 at Calvary Church in Santa Ana.
Dr. Michael was born in Pomona, California to citrus ranchers Wilford and Edith Michael on January 5, 1922, and lived in La Verne as a child. After graduating from Bonita High School, he continued his education at Chaffey College (AA), La Verne College (BA), Claremont Graduate School (MA), and UCLA (EdD). During World War II, he served in Europe with the U.S. Army Engineers.
Dr. Michael’s career in education spanned 40 years, beginning as a mathematics instructor at Compton College. He spent 22 years in the Chino Unified School District in various positions including principal at Boys Republic High School, Chino High School Principal, and assistant superintendent for business services. After a brief tenure in the Santa Ana Unified School and Community College districts, he moved to Cerritos College in 1972. In 1973, Dr. Michael was appointed President/Superintendent, serving 13 and a half years. He retired in 1986 but remained active in the college community, attending multiple athletic events and activities and serving on the Cerritos College Foundation Board. In 2005, the Board of Trustees honored him by naming the new campus library/learning complex the Dr. Wilford Michael Learning Resource Center.
In retirement, he remained active in the Bellflower Rotary Club and Calvary Church of Santa Ana. He also enjoyed travel, socializing with the Santa Ana Pacers, and being a cast member in the Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Jean, his daughters Deborah Sherry (Tom) of Nipomo, California and Marcia Totten of Placentia, and grandchildren Amanda and Ethan Totten.
Donations may be made in Dr. Michael’s name to the Bellflower Rotary Scholarship Fund for Cerritos College. P.O. Box 124, Bellflower, CA 90707.