Michael David Nicholas Gergen, 74, of Chicago, passed away, surrounded by his family, on Sunday, May 8, 2022. He was born on June 4, 1947 in St. Paul, Minnesota to the late Fred W. Gergen and the late Eleanor M. (Gaetke) Gergen. In June of 1970, Michael was united in marriage to Margaret Mallinckrodt. The couple had two children, Teresa Margaret Cipolletta (Massimo) and Paul Dietrich Gergen, both of Chicago.
Michael graduated from Nazareth Hall Minor Seminary, St. Paul, in 1966. He furthered his education at Nazareth Hall and later at the University of Minnesota, majoring in art. In 2001 Michael returned to campus life at the University of Illinois Chicago to complete his B.A. and master’s degree in Medieval European History with a minor in Church History.
In 1971, Michael and Margaret joined the full-time staff of the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) and poured themselves into the work of community development and social justice in several ICA locations including Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
In the early 80’s, Michael began work in the publishing industry as a graphic designer and print production manager and continued until his return to school in 2001. After completing his degrees and until his retirement in 2009, Michael taught English as a Second Language at a private language school where he enjoyed working with students from many countries across the globe.
Michael had several passions. Among them were Books of all sorts – especially history, poetry, travel, religion, linguistics; Music – classical, folk, opera, jazz; Art – charcoal, sculpture, pastels, graphic design as well as art history and museums; and most particularly his family and wide circle of friends and acquaintances. A hands-on problem solver, he was known to be a presence and a quiet strength, reflective and thoughtful and an anchor in troubled times. He was the quintessential life-long learner – and a true Renaissance Man in every sense of the word.
Michael will be lovingly remembered by his wife, his two children and his two granddaughters, Margaret Lucia and Eleanor Francesca Cipolletta, who know him fondly as Papa. Michael is also survived by his brothers Fred (Janice), Steve (Lois), Dan (Brandy), Tom (Elizabeth), Ed (Darcie), George (Barbara); sister-in-law Annette Gergen; brothers-in-law Steve (Pam) and John Mallinckrodt; many nieces and nephews; and his bonus extended family – the Materazzo-Cipolletta clan. In addition to his parents, Michael was preceded in death by siblings Jimmy, Jerry, Barbara, Bill, and Mary Jane; by his mother-in-law Betty and by several nieces and nephews.
Margaret and Michael were staff members with the ICA for many years, joining first in the Minneapolis regional office and serving also in Chicago, Atlanta and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. After their time with the Institute, Michael worked in the publishing industry and later taught English as a second language. Their home is in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago and their children, Paul and Teresa, are both living and working in the Chicago area. Peace,
~~ Karen Snyder Troxel
We were in the Atlanta House when she and Michael, young Paul and Teresa, joined the House. We shared a lot of tasks, laughter, and growth during those years–1974-5, if I remember correctly. All the best,
~~ Diann and Terry McCabe, San Marcos, TX
Doug and I spent a year with Michael and Margie in Kaohsiung while we were doing site selection. (Hai Ou was the result of that.) We have fond memories of that time. Deepest condolences to Margie and Paul and Teresa. This is indeed sad news.
~~ Pat and Doug Druckenmiller
My deepest sympathy to Margie and the family. I have fond memories working with Margie and Michael in Taiwan and some in Chicago. Love and blessings,