Bozeman resident Michael L. Rogel, the beloved son of Mary and Laurence Rogel, was tragically killed while in the midst of a mental health crisis on Monday, April 3, 2023. Michael’s Bernese Mountain Dog, Arlo, was also killed.
Michael was born in Grosse Point, Michigan, on July 17, 1983, and grew up in Gallup, New Mexico, with his three younger sisters. He attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2008. While studying in L.A., he became immersed in the West Coast’s bass music culture and gradually began to produce his own electronic music, mixing beats, soundscapes, vocals, and his own keyboard compositions into songs that expressed his spirituality and experience of the world.
After college, he returned to New Mexico, set up a home studio in Albuquerque, and continued to pursue his craft. As a self-taught musician, he spent hours at his keyboard, appreciating the freedom it provided his self-expression. He believed that music could inspire positivity and unite people, and he wanted his songs to be uplifting. Michael was formally recognized for his efforts in 2016, receiving the New Mexico Music Award for Best Electronica Song, “Martyr.”
In 2016, Michael and his family moved to Bozeman, where he continued composing with Arlo by his side. In the seven years since he’d been in Montana, he wrote and released nearly 1,500 tracks on SoundCloud and had 21 albums produced by record labels in the U.S. and Europe. His songs are available across the globe on Spotify, iTunes, and elsewhere. Before his death, he was working on an album with a local musician and dear friend and was collaborating with other musicians in Bozeman; this sense of community, recognition, and artistic connection was a lifelong goal.
In addition to his love of music, Michael’s spirituality was essential to him. His connection to God provided comfort and shaped his under-standing of the world. He was a practicing Catholic, studied Eastern religions, and appreciated all spiritual perspectives and philosophies. He spent hundreds of hours in meditation and often spoke about its impact on his life, encouraging others to form a daily meditative or prayer practice.
In so many ways, his life exemplified the spiritual principles he studied: he was compassionate, self-disciplined, gentle, and truly embodied the “loving awareness” he so frequently encouraged others to seek.
Michael was also deeply dedicated to his family. To him, “family [was] the strongest word in the English language.” He helped his mom around the house and took daily walks with her and Arlo around his neighbor-hood. He volunteered with her at the San Juan Diego Franciscan Friars in Albuquerque, helping prepare food for some 300 individuals in need. He cared for his terminally ill father during late-stage throat cancer. He loved his parents deeply, assisting them without complaint or self-interest.
He was also an exceptional older brother to his three sisters, acting as a personal DJ and comedian, with the ability to land a joke you’d always think of later. He was adventuresome as a child, riding bikes across town and making forts in the woods with friends. In high school, he was the drummer in the jazz band and in a garage band, and sometimes he and his friends would move their instruments on the front lawn and serenade his neighborhood. He had an outstanding sense of style, and his mom, aunt, and sisters often asked him for fashion advice. He created vibrant abstract paintings, a practice he pursued because he felt it informed his music. He always knew the best songs to play and movies to watch. He was euphoric while skiing at Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, and in Telluride, Colorado.
Michael leaves us with a remarkable example of artistic dedication and personal growth through self-discipline, prayer, spirituality, and creative expression. He never let his dreams fade. He was adored by his family and friends. His creativity, compassionate understanding, and angelic smile will be greatly missed. He leaves a legacy of music behind him.
Michael is survived by his mother, Mary Rogel; his sisters, Christine (Andrew) Morse, Megan (Jeremy) Armstrong, and Kaitlin (Peter) Jones; and his newborn niece, Penelope Jones.
Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Friday, May 26, 2023, at Holy Rosary Catholic Parish, 220 W. Main St. in Bozeman, Montana, and a Memorial for family and friends will be held from 5:00 to 9:00 P.M. on Saturday, May 27 at the Rialto, 10 W. Main St, Bozeman. His final resting place will be at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman, next to his father.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Bozeman Help Center, a nonprofit which provides crisis counseling, advocacy, and outreach to Southwestern Montana; bozemanhelpcenter.org/donate.html; 406-586-3333; 421 East Peach St., Bozeman, MT 59715.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]