Michael Lee Kortegaard
May 21, 1971 - June 28, 2007

Michael died from complications due to brain cancer (GBM) at his home in Houston, Texas. He had survived 21 months and two operations after diagnosis. This remarkable feat defied all the short-term dire prognoses given him. Although in constant pain of varying degrees he was always cheerful. He was logical, coherent and upbeat until the end. Even through the most debilitating pain he never lost his positive attitude. He was multi-talented, a force to be reckoned with in chess, poker and backgammon. Throughout his illness he continued to win tournaments. Michael loved life and lived it to the fullest. He inspired others with his loving nature and keen wit. He had a talent for reaching people and made it his mission to help them. Michael was a graduate of Los Alamos High School in 1989, attended UNM and owned a successful business. He is survived by his parents, four siblings and many devoted friends. Michael faced his final great challenge with dignity,bravery and tremendous strength of spirit. He will be greatly missed.

Published in the Houston Chronicle on 7/1/2007.


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Michael Lee Kortegaard


   February 12, 2012
I was in a rock band with Mike in highschool. We were terrible, but had a great time. Mike was such a great guy without a mean bone in his body. The drummer in that band just died of a brain cancer. I miss them both dearly.
Robert Reed,
Baltimore, Maryland

   February 19, 2010
I grew up with your son Mike, and played chess with him at Los Alamos High School. He was a much stronger player, than I could hope to be and I went on to other pursuits as we advanced in school although we remained friends. I lost touch with him after graduation, but recently ran into with some old Los Alamos friends from that era at a wedding. Joe Jarboe and I started talking about some people we knew, and there was a rumor that Mike had died. I did a search of the web to try to find out some details of his life after Los Alamos and wasn't able to find much. I know it has been a couple years since he passed, but I wanted you to know that his memory is alive with his childhood friends and we are sorry for your loss.
Ben Crane

   June 28, 2008
Life will never be the same without this man; there really are no words to express the emotions felt - still find it hard to believe he's gone.
The memories he left behind are truly beautiful though...his smile, his laughter, his heart - were everything.
& they will forever be.
The love never dies - it's within my heart every moment of every day.
Smiling through tears today, as I remember the many good times and mourn the loss of him a year later.
I love and miss you Mike Kortegaard.
our "Superman"...

   May 22, 2008
I think about you whenever I feel down or anxious about something. We had never spoken about butterflies, yet every time I see one....I think of you. Maybe that means something to you symbolically that Dawn will have to explain to me. But I strongly feel that is your way of letting me know you are still around and looking out for me. I miss your philosophical e-mails and your zest for life. You sure were one of a kind. If I ever met anyone like you again in my lifetime, I would be very surprised. Happy belated b-day love!!!! - April

   May 21, 2008
Dear Michael,
Thinking of you on your birthday and ALWAYS each and every day. And what a wonderful person I'm thinking of! xoxoxo Your sister, Kathy xoxoxo

   May 21, 2008
37 years ago today this very special person was born... so sad you are no longer with us Mike...but so thankful you allowed me to be a part of your journey with you.
all my love, always - Dawn
   Dawn Young (TX)

   April 28, 2008
It's been 10 months today...
think of you all the time.
miss you and love you.
   Dawn Young (Houston, TX)

   February 11, 2008
Wow, it's been almost a year since this world lost such an animated and caring soul. I read what Lisa wrote about how Mike helped turn her life around, and I just get so overwhelmed that the tears push their way through. I only met Mike in person once on a vacation that a bunch of us internet geeks went on in the 90s. But I kept in touch with him after that, mostly during his battle. God definitely took one of the good ones. Not many people can say that they have the gift of impacting a single life, let alone the lives of many. But Mike had that gift. He had this amazing gift that is just indescribable. So much so that I am at a loss for words because it is something you "feel" more than something that can be expressed in words. Still thinking of you Mike...you better be behavin' up there or I'll have to come kick your tush!!!
   April Roga (Knoxville, TN)

   January 21, 2008
Dear Michael,
I miss you more and more as each day goes by. Sending you my love always!
Your sis, Kat

   November 4, 2007

I have not looked into finding out what happened as your emails stopped coming in June, I knew in my heart but did not want to admit it. It has been 4 months and I am so sorry for your family and this world's loss. There are so many things I could say right now but it is all flooding in my head because my fears were confirmed when I found this. To all of the people who you have touched, I am so horribly saddened for your loss. I am sad for myself as well, because we spent a beautiful year together fighting the odds. You touched my life so long ago and changed everything in my world. 1999 will be the year of jokeman28 in my heart and I will carry you with me forever. I am happy that I got the opportunity to tell you how much you changed my life so long ago and gave me the strength to reach for what i really needed. Because of you, I am finally happy and healthy. A part of me will always love you and always miss you. A part of me will always get annoyed when I think of you as well lol...
I am so proud of you for your fight and so sad for the loss. I want to lift up my chin and feel happy. THat is what you taught me. NEVER be afraid to go after what you want, NEVER be afraid to say what you feel and NEVER be afraid of doing what is right.
Thank you Michael

I love you
Lisa... aka... Ladyfire
   Lisa Dewyngaert (Reading, MA)

   September 27, 2007
Bert and Barbara
To both of you,
Just recently I heard about your loss of Michael and was totally shocked. He was still so young!! My thoughts and sympathy are with you!
   Margot Pelette (Los Alamos, NM)

   August 25, 2007
I hear a song, and you're right there with me in the words of it...

I see a beautiful sunrise/sunset, and I know you see it too...

I hear other people tell me how much you mattered to them in their life, and I know you hear them too...

There are times I'd give anything to just be able to hold you one more time - then I feel you holding me...

You're still here...
I love you,
   Dawn Young (Kingwood, TX)
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   July 28, 2007
Hey Mike, I never got the chance to meet you face to face. I did however get to meet you over the phone and I am so thankful for that. It seemed like everytime you called there was nothing wrong, and things would get better...not only in your life, but in mine as well. You had that possitive energy, and willpower that not many possess, and I feel that you passed some of that on to me as we spoke. I loved our conversations because I felt like I had known you for years, and I almost felt as though you were not only an uncle, but my bigger brother as well. I love you Mike, and you may be gone, but you will NEVER be forgotten. You're in my heart. Goodbye...for now.

~Love Always, Jake Rowdy~
   Jake Countryman (Coos Bay, OR)

   July 28, 2007
I wish I could've met you sooner and known you longer. Just from talking to you over the phone I realized how strong willed and positive you were about life. It made me look at life in a more positive light by making me want to stick with something and never give up. I gained alot of knowledge and character from talking to you. I'm sorry that you couldn't come out here to see us.
Love Always, Your Nephew, Brody
   Brody Countryman (Coos Bay, OR)

   July 28, 2007
My sweet brother Michael,
You've taught me so much about bravery, honor, persistence, character, loyalty, faith, and love. I'll never forget our talks. Beyond your brilliance, I will remember your caring and generosity of spirit and I promise to put your words to work the rest of my life so your goodness can spread out to others. And I will tell them of my fine brother and how you changed my life, how you changed my sons' lives, Brody and Jake, and how proud I am to have been your sister. You are wrapped-up tight inside my heart wherever I go. Bev
   Bev Countryman (Coos Bay, OR)

   July 25, 2007
Dear Barbara and Bert, 7/22/07

We recently read the obituary of Michael. Anita and I are so very sorry to learn of the loss of your son. We had lost track of you; hence, we knew nothing of his illness. We can't imagine the loss of a child. I can't think of what words to use to express my sorrow for the both of you. We will continue to pray for Godís comfort and strength for you both at this time.

Please excuse my tardiness in writing this note. I'm sorry. Recently, things have become somewhat difficult for us. Anitaís health is not good at all.

Barbara, Anita would love to reestablish contact with you. Unfortunately, we do not do e-mail. However, our telephone is 505 672-9365; our address is 538 Paul Place, Los Alamos, 87544. Please drop her a line when things get more settled for you.

In Christís Love
   Roger and Anita Schamaun (Los Alamos, NM)

   July 22, 2007
Bert, We know you are proud to have such a talented, brave & wonderful son.

We know you will see him again.
   Terry and Rollin (Los Alamos, NM)

   July 22, 2007
Bert, Sorry to hear about your son.
   Rollin Jones (Los Alamos, NM)

   July 22, 2007
Please accept our condolences on the loss of Michael
   Vernon and Sue Smith (White Rock, NM)

   July 13, 2007
I was so saddened to hear of your dreadful loss.
I was the author of Korea Remembered which you displayed on your pages and I have always been very grateful for this as were all of our Korean War Comrades.
I wish I could say more to ease your pain.
Kindest regards.
   Maurie Pears (Australia)

   July 11, 2007
I too am leaving another message on here. Aside from my mom and a few acquaintances we shared on the internet, I don't know anyone (personally) who knew Mike. Anyone who reads these entries can clearly see what an amazing impact he had on a great many people. My 2 regrets are that 1) I hadn't talked to Mike since January of this year and 2) I never got to know him the way that so many others have. Mike, I miss getting your crazy and random e-mails. But I know you will now move heaven and earth to find other conduits by which to reach people you cared for (who cared very much for you). I miss ya sweetie :-)
   April Roga (Knoxville, TN)

   July 11, 2007
tag Please meet Kage and Hannah. These are 2 of my 3 children who never got the opportunity to meet the man who made such a difference in their mom's life. Mike and I were in the process of arranging a date I could visit him and I was planning on giving this picture to him. Since I can not hand it to him, I thought maybe if I post it here, Mike will see it... because I know Mike and I KNOW he's reading everything in this guestbook, aren'tcha Mike?? I miss you buddy...
   juliette pacheco (swansea, MA)
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   July 11, 2007
tag I am writing once again because Mike is on my mind and I wanted to say hello to him whatever way I can. I am hoping this will satisfy some emptiness I feel knowing I will never hear his uplifting voice again, beyond the recorded messages I have saved. Michael, I miss you dearly and I am thousands of miles away. I can only imagine the emptiness those fortunate enough to have lived near you must have. You will always be in my heart and on my mind. I will always love you and treasure the time I did have with you. You are and always will be my brother and friend. And you're still the most amazing man I've ever known. Again Michael, I love you and you are still here with me. love Jules
   juliette pacheco (swansea, MA)

   July 9, 2007
tag I was very sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you.
Tatianna Dickens (Petr and Louise's daughter)
   Tatianna Dickens (Las Cruces, NM)

   July 8, 2007
tag I just read the sad news this morning about Michael. To his family - my thoughts are with you. I went to High School with Michael, and we had many interesting conversations. I've always had fond memories of him, and I'll never forget him.
   Sonja (Los Alamos, NM)

   July 7, 2007
tag I feel so very sad to hear the news about Michael. I only remember him as a youngster in the same class as our Jennifer who was also born in 1971. When his mom, Barbara and I compared notes, we were both the same age when these children were born. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.
   Therese Barts (Corrales, NM)

   July 7, 2007
tag Dear Michael,
Love ya and miss you! more later ....
Your sis, Kat

   July 6, 2007
tag The world is a better place for Mike having been in it.

He touched practically everyone he met in a way that mattered deeply. He taught honor and selflessnes to those who would truly listen. His life was a mission walking, welcoming the remnants, the outcasts and the refused. If you had a troubled heart he would mend it. He guarded the weak and propped up the strong when they grew weary.

He is an unorthodox saint, bowing to no man, willing to fight back to back for cause or friend. He was the candle burning at both ends. Although the light burned out faster, he lighted the way for others to follow.

In your memory, Mike, I will endeavor to make the world a better place for my having been here. I love you and miss you. The world is different now without you here.
   Mike Sullivan (Houston)

   July 6, 2007
tag Dear Kortegaard Family,
Please accept the condolences of our family on the loss of your son, Michael.
We have often browsed the website you constructed on Australians who served in the Korean War and we thank you for what you have done.
   Ernie and Pat Cannard (Sydney, Australia)

   July 6, 2007
tag Our heartfelt sympathy on your sad loss. You are in our prayers.
   Jim & Joyce Reardon (Sydney, Australia)

   July 6, 2007
tag Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away. You'll always be in my life because you'll always be in my heart. Ciao, Baby. Pat
   Pat McCarty (Pahoa, HI)

   July 6, 2007
tag My sincere condolences Bert on your sad loss. Private Peter MacGregor 2/400986 3 Batt. RAR. Korea 1951/53 I am a New Zealander that was with 3 Batt. as an infantry soldier. Kind regards to your family.
   Peter & Marion MacGregor (Hillsborough Auckland, NZ)

   July 3, 2007
tag I have to say that Mike was the most unique individual I have ever met. Thursday night (June 28) I was asked to sum up Mike in one word, the word is Superman.

To me Mike was Superman.

Mike and I met the first day we both started a new job at the same company. Though he appeared very different (long hair, tough look), I was drawn to him.

That first day, I confessed I didnt have money to buy lunch. Mike bought me lunch. I never forgot that.

He and I became fast friends, though I never really got to appreciate all his depths and layers.

I admired him for so many reasons: his enormous intellect, his ability to see in the dark, his physical strength, but most importantly, his ability to see you for who you really are.

He always praised me for running a business, which always seemed a little incongruous with his stand on work.

But, I finally understood that he was praising me for taking care of my family.

Even through his travails while sick, Mike took it upon himself to speak to my wife, Amanda, by phone, many times, to counsel her and cheer her up. My wife is an MS patient and has experienced many difficulties and challenges.

I got to see Mike at his zenith and at his nadir.

Let me just say that as witness to one of the most courageous battles ever fought, Mike never lost his sense of humor, never lost his sense of who he was, and stayed at the controls to his last breath.

He is one person who truly lived and did it his way.

I feel extremely privileged to have had Mike in my life.

Love you Mike.
   Steve Block (Kingwood, TX)

   July 2, 2007
tag In my haste to get my thoughts on here to share with everyone who loved Mike, I forgot to say some other things. I want everyone who knew and loved Mike to know that I am so sorry for their loss. Mike had a lot of people whose hearts and souls he touched deeply. For those of you who are grieving, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with each of you during this difficult time. I just know that Mike is looking down on us and smiling as he writes the script for "Act II...Michael lives on".
   April Roga (Knoxville, TN)
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   July 2, 2007
tag I was fortunate enough to meet Mike in person when a bunch of us from the Talk City website met up in Vegas back in March of 1999. The one and only time I spoke with Mike on the phone was in January this year. We had always played e-mail tag. And boy did he always have a novel of stuff to write about. When it came to the "philosophy of Mike", I always read his e-mails closely as my mind became a sponge when it came to him. I always tried to read between the lines more than the actual words within his e-mails. It was more what Mike didn't say than what he said that intrigued me so much. He had such a "special" way of stating things as everyone in Talk City who knew him can attest to.

My mom called me a little while ago to deliver this very sad news. As soon as I heard the tone in her voice and she said she logged on to Talk City, I said, "oh no.....Midas (Mike)". I told my mom that I had just finally gotten around to updating his newest roadrunner e-mail address into my AOL over the weekend. I guess Mike has a way of making us all think about him now that he is gone (but definitely not forgotten).

As I read the posts on the website, the tears just began streaming. I know that Mike would not want us to be sad for him. But I am not sad for him. I am sad for me. Sad because I won't get to enjoy lengthy conversations with him anymore. Sad because we won't get to have that Vegas reunion that he promised we would have again. Sad because he lost that darn battle against the physicians that he was supposed to beat just for the sheer thrill of proving them all wrong.

I sure do miss Mike already. I hope he knows that I truly cared about him and wish I would have had the chance to properly say goodbye. But something tells me that Mike would say that there is no such thing as a "proper" goodbye.

Mike, wherever you are......give me a sign (in a way that only YOU would do) to let me know you are okay. I'll miss you and remember you always. God speed!!

Love, April
   April Roga (Knoxville, TN)

   July 2, 2007
tag Quite simply Michael became one of my all time HEROES! Watching him fight his cancer with such confidence and courage was awe-inspiring to me and I am much his senior in age! I saw many tough situations while in Vietnam and can truthfully say I never saw anyone display the courage that Mike did over the past few years.

He was a unique individual and one that I am proud passed through my life! I have many times relayed to my GE Customers throughout the nation what a "beacon" of life he was for others to follow. He never ever gave up and fought the good fight to the bitter end...against all the best advice in the medical community! Sense of Humor and just down right mental toughness were his strongest attributes and they served him well to the end.

He can truly say "up there" about his time "down here" that ..." I DID IT MY WAY"!

God bless and keep you Michael...you were and still are MY HERO!

   Doug Young (Kingwood, TX)

   July 2, 2007
tag Thoughts and condolences, from the daughter of a friend, who now herself is your friend. Always.
   Lyndie Fotheringham (Cessnock, Australia)

   July 1, 2007
tag To know Mike was to know courage, strength, integrity, honor, intelligence, humor, kindness, selflessness, compassion, friendship and love.

His smile could brighten even the darkest days and it was impossible to hear his laughter without laughing with him.

There will never be another like him - because there simply could never be. He was truly one of a kind and will be greatly missed.

I know the love and laughter never leave though; they remain in our hearts forever.
Where Mike will always be...
   Dawn Young (Houston, TX)

   July 1, 2007
tag Distance has not diminished the inspirational power of Michael's response to his known fate. Bert and Barbara's loss and pain is great. My sympathy goes to them, with love. And I know I speak too for Australia's Korea War Veterans.
   olwyn Green (Sydney)

   July 1, 2007
tag After a battle, we Marines consoled ourselves in our loss of beloved friends, by repeating the old saying that: "Only The Good Die Young." Michael's too early demise seems to once again confirm that consoling thought.

Mary Jane & Sully
   Mary Jane & Sully Sullivan (Goliad, TX)

   July 1, 2007
tag Bert,

Alice and I send our sympathy to you and the family.

Semper Fi,

Herbert G. and Alice Renner
Master Chief, Hospital Corps
U.S. Navy (Retired)
   Herbert Renner (Pahrump, NV)

   July 1, 2007
tag Mike, I will miss you dearly. You will ALWAYS be in my heart. I love you. You will always be my brother. I'm so sorry you left before I had the chance to kiss you goodbye. You have made such a difference in my life and I can't thank you enough for everything you are and always will be. I will see you again my friend. Forever, I love you, Jules
   Juliette Pacheco (Swansea, MA)

   July 1, 2007
tag Michael was the Kortegaard Comet. Brilliant and beautiful.
And gone too soon.
   Riki Lipe (Springfield, MO)

   July 1, 2007
tag Our deepest sympathy in your tragic loss.
Our loving thoughts are ever with you.
Meg and Alec
   Alec Weaver (Mount Martha Vic Australia)

   July 1, 2007
tag Michael,
During your own brief life you helped brighten many others.
To mention just one, you made me proud to be your father.
   Bert Kortegaard (Los Alamos, NM)