Devoted husband, outdoorsman, musician, and treatment provider John Michaud passed away on Sunday December 12th, at the age of 57. Most knew John as the mountain climber, guide, or as “that pretty darn good banjo picker.” John was a mountain climber for years, scaling peaks in the Himalayas, Colorado and elsewhere. He summitted Mount McKinley (Alaskans call it Denali) several times and led many guided trips in the Brooks Range and Wrangell Mountains. John was a fan of “old timey” music, and he played and sang with several local bands.
John Michaud of Anchorage warms up his toes at the Rabbit Lake checkpoint during the Iditasport. (Photo courtesy Jim Jager/Anchorage Daily News archive 1995]
Those closest to John also knew him as the talented and committed clinician who spent his 9 to 5 (or 6 or 7 or 8), helping those most of society would see as unworthy of compassion, dignity, least of all respect—people who have committed sexual offenses. Why did he do it? Because he genuinely cared about people, even criminal offenders, and believed that everyone deserved a shot at humanity. John also knew that sexual offender treatment works, and that by providing these services he could help keep others from ever becoming victims of sexual abuse. And John did very good work. There are individuals living their lives in and around Anchorage, Alaska who are not now, and will never become victims of sexual abuse because of the work he did. I’m not one for hyperbole or patronizing, this is just plain fact.
A memorial and reception was held for John, on Saturday the 18 of December, it was a beautiful service filled with his friends, family, and quite a few of those he had worked with. Several program graduates from years past attended, tears glistening in their eyes. Like those who called John a friend, they were tears of sadness for his passing, mixed with tears of joy for having had the opportunity to have known him. Many, even most, do not realize it, but John was a true giant in our field. But as a treatment provider he was a quiet giant one who never sought recognition or fame—all he wanted was to do his very best helping others. Kind and gentle, he will be missed.
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