Michael Kattchee

Michael Kattchee

Michael Kattchee


Michael Kattchee, longtime resident of Johnson County, passed away at his home in Coralville,

Iowa on Saturday, April 20, 2024. He was 92. Mike lived a full and fascinating life, from his childhood in Europe, to his service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, to his decades of public service, including sixteen years as mayor of Coralville, and as a dedicated family man. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend to so many.

Mike was born in Kaunas, Lithuania on April 13, 1932, the son of Tatiana and Victor Kattchee. The Kattchee Family was forced to flee their home in 1940 due to Stalin’s invasion of the Baltic states. After

months in Polish refugee camps, the family settled in Munich, Germany, where they survived the daily aerial bombings of World War II. Mike learned early the values of courage and perseverance, which he would hold throughout his life.

In 1950, Mike and his family immigrated to the United States in search of opportunity. They arrived in Iowa City to the home of

their distant relatives, the Leo Kadghin Family. Mike immediately began work at Bob’s Radio on Muscatine Avenue. He was drafted and served three years in the Army Signal Corps in Japan. In Tokyo, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1953. He returned to Iowa and was employed by Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids. He enrolled at the University of Iowa, where he graduated with a degree in Mathematics in 1959.

Mike met Dolores Salasek, the love of his life, at a square dance in Cedar Rapids, and they were married at University of Iowa’s Danforth Chapel in 1958. During their sixty-five years of marriage, their unconditional love inspired so many who knew them. Mike and Dolores enjoyed dancing at the Moose Lodge, attending programs at Hancher Auditorium, cheering on the

Hawkeyes, spending time at their farms, and traveling near and far, especially on road trips in their RV. They cherished time spent at their river house along the Mississippi. On Saturday evenings, Mike could be found enjoying the Lawrence Welk Show on PBS. Above all, Mike was devoted to his family, graciously supporting his children and grandchildren in their academic, artistic, and athletic endeavors.

Hard-working and self-motivated, Mike was a man of many talents. In the 1960s, he built his house on 14th Avenue where he raised his family. An engineer by trade, Mike owned and operated Mike’s Standard Station on Highway 6 in Coralville. He also was chief engineer and plant superintendent at Hunter Manufacturing Company, eventually becoming the owner. After selling his businesses, he bought land and fulfilled his dream of farming and owning horses. St. Thomas More Church and the Coralville Youth Sports Park now occupy the site of one of his farms. Mike returned to the University of Iowa and received his teaching certificate. He became a substitute teacher in the Iowa City Community School District, delighting many students. A career in real estate completed his working days.

In 1966 Mike was elected to the Coralville City Council. He served as a council member for ten

years before being elected mayor in 1977. As mayor, Mike led Coralville through some of its greatest expansion and development. His vision and commitment to infrastructure helped provide the future of growth for Coralville. During his sixteen-year tenure, Mayor Kattchee saw the building of the new library, fire station, city hall, and recreation center. He was also creditedas instrumental in the development of the UI Oakdale Research Park, the upgrades of the Coralville Wastewater Plant, as well as the location of the Rockwell Collins facility in Coralville. He hired Coralville’s first city administrator and started the city’s recycling program. A humorous and compelling public speaker, it was said that Mike “had never met a podium he didn’t like.”

Mike served on countless committees and organizations, including the Coralville Planning and

Zoning Commission, the East Central Iowa Council of Governments, the Southeast Iowa Municipal League, the Johnson County Council of Governments, the Johnson County Regional Planning Commission, the Iowa City Senior Center Commission, the Johnson County Historical Society, and the Johnson County Democrats. He was an active member of the Coralville

Optimist Club, the Coralville American Legion, the Coralville Chamber of Commerce, the Masonic Lodge, the Farm Bureau, and the Coralville United Methodist Church.

Mike will be remembered for his sharp intellect and dry wit. Mike was an excellent storyteller, captivating with tales from his early years. He was a man who was seemingly good at everything he put his mind to, a man who made a lasting impact on all who knew him. We remember Mike’s incredible achievements and thank him for teaching us to work hard and serve generously. His love and dedication will continue to inspire us every day.

Michael is survived by his loving wife, Dolores; their children, Lori (Bill) Ortega of Winona, MN;

Lisa Kattchee of Coralville;Michelle Kattchee Sirois of Denver, CO; Karl (Patricia) Kattchee of La Crosse, WI, and Linda Walsh of Ft. Collins, CO; grandchildren, Sarah and Ryan Ortega; Alec, Marissa, and Michaela Sirois; Viktor and Gabe Kattchee; Melissa Freeman, Nathaniel, Mercedes, and Shayna Walsh; and two great-grandchildren. Michael was preceded in death by

his parents, brother Nicholas, and sister Maria.

A Celebration of Michael’s Life will be held at the Coralville United Methodist Church on Saturday, May 11 at 2:00 pm, with a gathering in the CUMC Community Room following. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Michael Kattchee Memorial Fund at Hills Bank.

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