Remembering Michael Szmytke

Michael Allen Szmytke, 65, of Flagstaff, AZ, passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 2, 2023, after a long battle with early-onset dementia caused by cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA).

Mike was born on February 4th, 1958, to Zbigniew “Joe” & Ursula “Shirley” Szmytke in Detroit, MI. After graduating from Cody High School in 1974, he went on to work in various automotive roles before starting as a Tool & Die apprentice at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, eventually becoming a Tool & Die Journeyman and working at Ford until 2008.

In 1982, Mike married his junior high school sweetheart Belinda after dating for ten years. Two years later, they started Diversified Products Marketing and became a Ford Racing distributor. Despite facing adversity and headwinds from competitors, DPM quickly rose to be a Top Ten Distributor for Ford Racing, an achievement Mike was very proud of.

Mike was a true force of nature, often lovingly described as hardheaded and determined to provide for his family and always stand on principle. Mike had a deep passion for automobiles and racing, as shown by his ever-growing collection of Mustangs, earning him the nickname “Mustang Mike” from friends and colleagues. Mike could build or fix anything, a trait demonstrated early on in life by building Belinda her first bicycle while they were both teenagers, as well as later in life by building not one, but four Cobra Jet race cars from the body-up with the help of his sons.

Mike was predeceased by his father Zbigniew Szmytke, mother Ursula Linkiewicz, and stepfather Arthur Dohring. He is survived by his loving wife Belinda, sons Matthew (fiancée Catlea) and Brian (wife Amanda), and his brother Robert (wife Barbara). Also survived by his favorite sister-in-law Dana Winter.

The family would like to thank the dearest and most supportive friends who have seen us through Mike’s battle, especially John & Crystal Yates, Doug & Ellen Ludlam, Micheal & Linda Grudnicki, Roxanne & Don Walsh, Cher Yovich, Dave Lanman, Jim & Dana Dingell, Matt & Terry Fabritz, Audra Blair, the staff at The Bluffs of Flagstaff, and so very many others. We will never forget the love and kindness that you have shown for our family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Mike’s memory to one of the following organizations:

Brain Support Network – an organization that facilitates brain donations for medical research. They are instrumental in our family possibly finding answers about secondary causes and hopefully helping others.

Tunnel to Towers Foundation – an organization that Mike admired, dedicated to providing for first responders and their families.

Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy Research Program – a research program run at Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to finding treatments for CAA, a disease very little is known about and for which there are currently no effective treatments.

There will be a Celebration of Life this summer in Michigan – to signup to receive details regarding the celebration once determined, please subscribe to email updates using the form below. If you would like to share a note or memory about Mike publicly, please feel free to sign the Guestbook. To contact the family, please email legacy@michaelszmytke.com.

Photo Credit: Longtime Friend Ian Carsten