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Obituary: Michael Douglas Jessup “MJ”

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Posted at 7:18 PM, May 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-01 21:18:51-04

In Loving memory of the “Bobcats’ Biggest Fan”, Michael Douglas Jessup, age 52, 12/01/1969 – 04/14/2022. Michael was born in Las Vegas, Nevada to Lalla Chadwick and Michael Jessup. His life was not easy from the start, and he spent the first year of it at Shriner’s hospital in Salt Lake City receiving surgeries to his hip. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, Michael ended up with a crippled right hip for life.

He never let this, or his congenital diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome slow him down for a single moment. His youth was spent in rural Montana playing swords with sticks, kick the can, building forts, roasting marshmallows, and keeping up with his younger siblings. He was happy to explore the woods in search of ET and swim in the cool waters of the local streams.

Michael was born at a time when most children with Down’s Syndrome were institutionalized. He was saved from this abysmal fate by the great strength and resolve of his mother, who insisted he be treated and raised the same as any other child. She saw to it that this was the case, and Michael attended a groundbreaking preschool program for children with special needs at Lowell School in Missoula. This program paved the way in Montana for these children to attend schools with the main student body, gain greater community acceptance, and eventually become part of the work force. Michael accomplished all these goals and eventually graduated from Sentinel High School in Missoula, MT.

Michael regularly competed in the Special Olympics. His events were basketball, bowling, bocce ball, and the 50-yard dash. He strove for excellence and was proud of all his medals. The greatest feature of his character was his unfailing kindness. He showered it on all those around him.

Michael’s love of sports became a central theme in his life and culminated in him becoming “Bobcats’ Biggest Fan”. He religiously attended all Bobcat sporting events and was known to all the athletic staff and bookstore staff on campus. He made posters and cheered loudly while waiving them in the stands. His favorite job was working for Bobcat Athletics folding towels for the various sports teams. He never wore clothing that wasn’t blue and gold and even rode a custom made blue and gold bike. When asked what he wanted for his birthday or Christmas, his response never failed to be “Bobcat Stuff!”.

Michael’s life was a life well lived. It was filled with travel, family, friends, and fun. His kindness and gentle manor left its mark on everyone fortunate enough to have known him.

Michael is survived by his mother, Lalla; father, Michael; stepfather, Bob; favorite uncle, Chris, Aunt Diana; and his siblings, Troy, Janeal, Erin, Daniel, Caley, Taylor, Parker.

A Memorial and Celebration of Life will be held at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on April 30th at 11:00 AM. Please enter Brick Breeden Fieldhouse by the West entrance doors. To watch the live webcast please visit: https://youtu.be/3YMrc5asdDg [youtu.be]

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]