KENILWORTH, NJ - Please see the tribute to Mike Ortiz written by close family friend Tara Colandrea.
We would like to honor a member of our Kenilworth Community who is very dear to us, Mike Ortiz. He left a bit of joy on everyone in town he encountered, and we want to show his beautiful family: Bonnie, Jenna, & Cara how much of an impact he had on all of us.
Mike was from the Bronx and takes the most amount of pride in that, particularly displayed by his Yankee and Jet fandom. He met his wife Bonnie there in 1991 and they were together from the ages of 17 and 19 and have been married 21 years. Mike and Bonnie moved to Union, NJ in December 2001 because Mike’s uncle lived there, and they wanted to raise their children there. They lived there until 2014 before moving to Kenilworth in November of that year and have been there ever since. His daughter Jenna was quoted as saying, “The greatest person to ever walk the Earth. He never wanted anything but happiness and love for the people he cared about. The best father, husband, and son. He never let life get him down. A true character and as he would say: ‘He is smart, funny, and people like him’.”
Mike knew of his daughter’s passion for softball and upon moving to town quickly immersed himself in the Kenilworth Rec and Youth Softball Organization where the whole family became fixtures on and off the field. He loved coaching his girls. He was at every game whether he was yelling from the stands or coaching on a sideline. He coached for Summer Travel ball and The Rec Department. He had a passion for the game and more importantly for his daughters. As a coach, Mike was eager to learn, assertive, kind, and treated everyone with respect no matter what they brought to the game. “I was fortunate enough to know Mike on two fronts, as a softball parent and a friend. He was so supportive of the girls, not just his, but the whole team, no matter the situation. That’s a good word for him, supportive. As a coach, that can’t be understated. I know of many people, myself included, who has benefited from his kind words, positive attitude, and his well-timed jokes,” said Steve Radzik, Kenilworth Middle School Softball Coach.
Mike made a huge impact on everyone he encountered coaching softball. Kevin Charles, Kenilworth Youth Softball Director said, “Mike Ortiz and I met years ago through softball, when he and his family moved to Kenilworth. It didn’t take long after the first shared joke, for us to become the best of friends. From there, we coached summer and travel softball teams together. He always made it fun for the girls. He, Bonnie, Jenna, and Cara are family to us. Losing Mike leaves an unfillable void for our family, our Softball family, and all who knew him. May he rest in peace. We will miss Mike always.”
Off the field, Mike was a family man. Mike considered his family very large. In addition, to his brother and sister, two nieces and nephew, whom he adored, there was many families from East 205th Street in the Bronx. Those lifelong friends were brothers to him and their children referred to him as Uncle Mike. Mike loved his wife and girls beyond measure and spent his time vacationing all over the world with them. He was an avid golfer and took advantage of that to spend time with his brothers. As much as he enjoyed walking, movies with his family, and music, especially Phil Collins, above all he enjoyed making people smile. Those who knew him could attest his comedy was legendary, and often times scathing. His friend Tara Colandrea said, “Mike lit up every room he entered, and I was thankful to be in so many of them. He welcomed me into his family with open arms. I grew extremely close to his girls, who are amazing young ladies, which is a true testament to who Mike was as a man and father. He always made you feel like the most important person in the room, and he never acted as if he was better than anyone, but the truth is he was the best!”
In order to honor Mike, Especially Yours Florist in Kenilworth is donating a batch of Blue Bows to be displayed on your door or banister. Friends of his from town will be purchasing the rest from the florist. We just want to fill Kenilworth we these bows, and they are at no cost to you- we got that covered.
Below you will find a link to a google form where you can secure a bow, Pat from the Rec Department generously offered to sanitize spray each bow and deliver it to your address (on steps) on the google form. If you would like to please make a donation and go to: https://themmrf.org/get-involved/donate-to-the-mmrf/ and donate to The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in Mike’s name. Thank you so much and I am looking forward to seeing all the blue ribbons and I know it will help comfort the family at this time- God Bless-