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Retired journalist Mike Middlesworth dies at age 81

John Michael “Mike” Middlesworth, retired newspaperman and vice chairman of the state Judicial Selection Commission, died Jan. 14 at Hilo Medical Center. He was 81.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Middlesworth graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan and served in the U.S. Army. He was a reporter, sportswriter, photographer and editor at several mainland newspapers before becoming managing editor of the Honolulu Advertiser in 1973. He became the paper’s business editor in 1986 and retired in 1994, becoming a global news technology consultant.

Tall, lean, often sporting a wide-brimmed hat, Middlesworth was a partner in Fiascos Restaurant in Hilo between 1997 and 2003. More recently, he served as business manager of Hastings &Pleadwell: A Communication Company.

“I was always honored to walk with him,” said Barbara Hastings, Middlesworth’s wife.

After surviving a bout with esophageal cancer in 2001, Middlesworth served on the East Hawaii Regional Board of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, Hawaii County Redistricting Commission and Hawaii County Grand Jury, and was a member of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Japanese Chamber of Commerce &Industry of Hawaii and Big Island Press Club. He also was an avid golfer.

“He connected with you on a one-to-one level and found something of mutual interest to talk about,” Hastings said. “People tell me how he’d make them smile. He was a curmudgeon, so it’s funny.”

Middlesworth loved to cook, enjoyed great food, wine and conversation, and embarked on a nationwide road trip in 1999-2000 to research a book, still unpublished, called “Eating at Mom’s.”

Hastings said Middlesworth’s community service stemmed from people he met — often accompanying her at her business functions— who saw what he had to offer and asked him to participate.

“The community and the outpouring of support that I have gotten … is just amazing. We live in the right place,” Hastings said.

Middlesworth also is survived by three children from a previous marriage, Andrea (Heath) Farleigh and Cara Middlesworth of Kailua, Oahu, and Chad Middlesworth of Waikiki, Oahu; stepdaughter Rhea Hastings Olsen; four grandsons and two step-grandsons.

A private celebration of life is scheduled for Feb. 21-23 in Hilo. For information, contact
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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