Michael (Mike) Howard Pottinger, Sr.
Louisville - On the evening of November 28, 2021, Michael (Mike) Howard Pottinger, Sr., a loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, died at the age of 91, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He was born into the large family of Raffo and Clara Pottinger in New Haven, Nelson County, Kentucky in 1930, and lived on Knob Creek farm as a young boy. Mike enjoyed reminiscing about his time at Knob Creek, and his ability to recall details was uncanny. His family subsequently moved to Louisville, where he attended Male High School. Mike then attended the University of Louisville where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon and obtained a bachelor's degree in business. He served in the first infantry division in Korea from 1951 to 1953. Mike worked his entire professional career for Joseph E. Seagram's & Sons, initially in Louisville, and then at its Manhattan headquarters in New York City. He loved to discuss the art and science of making bourbon; he was also known to drink some on occasion. In 1955 he married Elizabeth Allard of Lewisport, Kentucky. Together they navigated and celebrated 66 years of marriage and had four children. He retired from Seagram's in 1984, and in 1985 Elizabeth and he moved from New York back to Louisville. In 2021 they moved to Johnson City, Tennessee to be closer to immediate family. Mike will be remembered for many things, including his sense of humor, quick wit, sensitivity, and full head of dark hair. While carrying furniture through a doorway he was always quick to remind you that, "Skin grows back. The wood doesn't." That is but one of his many expressions that will live on in his progeny. He was industrious and thrifty, typical of his generation. He would straighten a used, bent nail if he thought it could be reused. Instead of taking his children or grandchildren to an expensive theme park, he would fashion a series of tarps on a hill in the yard, wet them with a hose, and provide endless laughter as the kids would slide wildly down. That laughter will echo in his descendants. Mike is survived by his wife ("Betty") of 66 years; 4 children (Ruth Ann Pottinger-Amato (m. Richard) of Fletcher, Vermont; Michele Marie Schaeffer (m. Ken) of Ocean View, Delaware; Michael Howard Pottinger, Jr. (m. Susan) of Cape Town, South Africa; and John Allard Pottinger (m. Karen) of Johnson City, Tennessee); 13 grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren; and 2 sisters Doris (Pottinger) Wise and Jane (Pottinger) Gambert. He was known as "Uncle Mike" to over 50 nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by all of his brothers (Joe, Harold, Jim, and Sam) and sisters Mary (Pottinger) Hayes, Evelyn (Pottinger) Lawson), Sylvia (Pottinger) Slater, and Patricia (Pottinger) Ilaria. Mike will be interred with many of his ancestors at St. Catherine's cemetery in New Haven, Kentucky at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, his family requests a donation to the charity of your choice.
Mountain Empire Cremation and Burial Services
Posted online on December 30, 2021
Published in The Courier-Journal