Michael Irvin Lingenfelter, 86 years, passed away on Thursday January 18, 2024, at his home in Covington, Louisiana surrounded by his family. He was the husband of Nancy L. (Beegle) Lingenfelter for 67 years. Born in Altoona, Pennsylvania he was the son of the late Michael and Evelyn (Johnston) Lingenfelter.
Mike is survived by his wife Nancy, brother Thomas, Sisters Judy, Connie, and Cindy, four children Robin Jackson (Steve) , Susan Snelling (Mickey), Mark Lingenfelter (Jenny), and Tammy Conner, 7 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. Mike is preceded in death by his father Michael, mother Evelyn, and brother Terry.
Mike grew up in Hollidaysburg Pennsylvania and married his high school sweetheart Nancy in 1957. They enjoyed a lifelong relationship that began with an elopement across the state line to West Virginia where they were married, unbeknownst to their parents. Months later when word leaked out, his mother in law threw a frying pan at him in celebration. Mike and Nancy had just celebrated their 67th anniversary on January 5th.
Mike was a proud veteran who served in the US Army and US Air Force Reserve as a Radio Relay Equipment Technician. He was an accomplished engineer who worked on a number of visible and important public construction projects in his 40 year career. He designed and managed the construction of communication systems for airports and mass transit systems in cities around the world. He held a BS degree in Electrical Engineering, was a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and held 17 patents.
In 2002, Mike co-authored the award winning book “The Angel By My Side” that chronicled the human-animal bond with his Golden Retriever service dog Dakota. Mike and Dakota’s work became a story of national interest and was featured on Good Morning America when Dakota was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo treatment at the University of Colorado. It was a true story of a dog who saved a man … and a man who saved a dog. After Dakota’s passing, Mike committed much of his time to working for the advancement of the rights for therapy and service dogs and their human partners.
One of Mike’s true passions in life was aviation. He was a private pilot who achieved his commercial rating. He was most happy when he was flying in his beloved Cessna Sky Lane. He shared and passed his passion for aviation onto his eldest grandson.
Mike enjoyed many summer days in the 1960’s and 70’s with his family boating and fishing on the old Raystown lake. By then his mother in law had forgiven him for the elopement and allowed him to dock his boat and board at the in-law’s lake front cottage.
Mike was an avid deer hunter and once bagged a deer from over 700 yards with his trusty .30-06 Winchester rifle. While Mike was sometimes known to exaggerate a bit, this remarkable shot was witnessed by a friend and family member.
A celebration of Mike’s life and interment of ashes will take place at a future date in his hometown of Hollidaysburg Pennsylvania.