John Michaelis remembered as part of ‘the foundation of this community’

There are plenty of people who get a lot done, and get a lot of attention for it. And there are plenty more who never get much done.

But there are far fewer who find that middle ground, that sweet spot of accomplishing massive tasks while not seeking any of the spotlight.

That, say friends, is the area John Michaelis occupied.

Michaelis, 63 years old, passed away peacefully Friday night, surrounded by his family and friends in the St. Cloud Hospital, following a long battle with cancer.

Michaelis was a Monticello High School graduate and a lifelong resident of Monticello. He worked at his father’s (Virgil) Gould Brothers Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealership as a sales representative for a time, before buying into the dealership as a full partner in 1985. John partnered with his father until 2004, when he became sole owner of the business following his father’s retirement. John owned the dealership until 2011, when he was forced into retirement by his first bout with cancer.

Michaelis was also a founder of the Monticello Sportsman’s Club and an active member of the Monticello Rotary since 1983.

Fellow long-time Rotarian, Steve Johnson, remembers Michaelis as someone who was always there to help, even if he wasn’t noticed.

“He wasn’t front and center,” said Johnson. “He was kind of the bricks and mortar that was the foundation of this community.”

“He was the guy that was there when you needed him,” continued Johnson. “He was a background guy that made things happen.”

Michaelis loved the outdoors dearly as well. According to family, he traveled the world in search of big game and good fishing. And in his later years, Michaelis started spending his winter months in Florida. But, no matter where he went, his mother Jean says there was one place he always wanted to come back to.

“He always said that [Monti] was the best place to be,” she said. “He was in a lot of other places, but he always said Monticello was home.”

Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]