Michael was born and raised in the Reading, Pennsylvania area. A 1987 graduate of Exeter Township High School, he earned varsity letters in football, wrestling, and track and field. He earned his Bachelors of Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 1994. He was named “Staff of the Year” in 1992 by the Central YMCA before running his own business for 25 years, refurbishing and installing exercise equipment across the tri-state area.
Michael spent his 30’s and 40’s attending every event his sons participated in, from coaching, volunteering at practices, helping with drills, attending competitions, concerts, plays, doctors’ appointments, birthday parties, school events, and anything under the sun. He also spent countless hours on the baseball field, helping coach teams for both his sons from age 4-15. It is rumored he threw over 60,000 batting practice pitches during his 17-year career as a self-proclaimed “professional batting practice thrower” while hitting another 60,000 fungo reps. During all that time, he only hit a handful of kids, who were just “crowding the plate.”
Michael spent the past seven years of his life in the Sarasota, Florida area, where he was able to spend his days fishing and playing volleyball with his sons and friends. He enjoyed showing off his skills in cornhole, bocce, and pretty much any other thing you could compete in. He loved taking Alex fishing, and showing Andrew who was boss on the volleyball courts. He was also an avid sunset watcher as he spent his evenings on the beach. He enjoyed showing off while throwing darts and shooting pool… and he tried really hard to win in ping-pong.
He will be remembered for his hero complex, which was personified by his Batman tattoo and willingness to drop everything to help others, which includes but is not limited to, the dozens of turtles he would help cross the street. Just look at any photo of his dog Rocky, who wore a Batman collar for most of his life, unless a Philly sport team was in the postseason. Michael dedicated his life to helping those he cared for, dropping anything and everything to make sure his people had everything they needed. He’d let you know how awesome he was, but he always showed up and was the ultimate problem solver. He may have worn the same five shirts all the time, but his family always had everything they needed, and more.
Michael is survived by his parents, Carl and Judy, his two sons Andrew and Alex, half-sister Stefanie, and his seven nieces and nephews, who he loved as if they were his own children. He is welcomed into his next phase by his godson Joey P. and his dog Rocky.
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows… life’s not about how hard you hit… it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… that’s how winning is done” – Rocky Balboa, 2006 – Michael Pawling.
A celebration of life will be planned for this spring in the Reading, Pennsylvania area and an exact time/location will be announced after the Holidays.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to https://wildlifeflorida.org
as Michael loved sea life and taking photos of dolphins from his boat. Next time you catch a sunset, think of Mike.