Michael was born Dec. 5, 1951, in Knoxville, Tenn., and spent much of his early life in Atlanta before moving to Pioneer Valley in 1979.
Michael loved children and spent two decades teaching at Hampshire Community Action’s Daycare Center. At HCAC he helped hundreds of young children develop their full potential and provided families with wise counsel and support. His second career was as a co-owner of ARC Garage. Here, he enjoyed his other passion in life, which was cars.
Michael had many diverse interests and talents, including music, landscape design, woodworking, painting, reading, running and biking.
Michael is survived by his loving wife, Debra Hertz, and his two much-beloved daughters, Laura of New York City and Erica of Boston. He leaves his parents, Lucy and Derrell Southerland; and his sister, Donna Pruitt of Rabun Gap. Michael leaves many close friends who will miss him dearly.
Memorial services will be held at 1:30 a.m. Saturday at Dillard United Methodist Church. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Dillard United Methodist Church or the Angel Fund, 649 Main St., Wakefield, MA 01880.
The Clayton Tribune, May 24, 2012