Michael Reeves Lusignan

michael lusignan
Michael Reeves Lusignan

Michael Reeves Lusignan, a Primary Examiner in the Chemistry Division of the U.S. Patent and

Trademark Office, died at home at Collington, a retirement community in Mitchellville,

Maryland, on November 5, 2022. He was 85 years old. His beloved wife Louise had died only

five weeks earlier on September 28. Others who predeceased Michael were his sister Anne

Butler, and his brother Frank. He is survived by his sister Kathie Jones of Berkeley, CA; Kathie’s

children Cameron, Leland, and Tegan; Anne’s children Amy, Lindsay, and Ben; Louise’s nieces

and nephews; and his brother-in-law Thomas Cornish.

Born on August 2, 1937, in Mansfield, Ohio, Michael graduated from Western Reserve Academy

in Hudson, Ohio, in 1955. He then attended Swarthmore College as a Chemistry major, and

graduated in 1959. Mike spent two and a half years in the U.S. Army in Germany, before

attending Ohio Northern University, from which he received a law degree in 1966. He then

came to Washington D.C. to the U.S. Patent Office, and advanced to the highly respected

position of Primary Examiner in the Chemistry Division, making decisions on the patentability of

inventions in such complex areas as polymers, coatings, and laminates.

Michael and Louise met in Washington and were married in 1974. Two years later, while on a

vacation in Colorado, Michael became lost while hiking alone in the Mt. Evans area. When

searchers were unable to find him after five days, Louise returned to Washington and asked the

community at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church to pray that he would find his way out.

That Sunday morning, June 13, 1976, at about the same time as the prayers, Mike did exactly

that! After five days without food, he was very weak and probably would not have survived the

blizzard which arrived that night.

The experience in Colorado changed Michael’s life. He and Louise became deeply involved in

the life of St. Columba’s. She went on to seminary and became a priest, serving at St.

Columba’s and later at St. John’s in McLean, Virginia. Michael chose a quieter role in the two

congregations, serving faithfully on their usher teams, greeting worshippers with a smile and a

bulletin and helping them feel comfortable in the service.

In 2015, Michael and Louise sold their home in Northwest Washington and moved to Collington

with their beloved cats. There they found a new community, where his smile, his quiet

presence, and his wonderful, infectious laugh, brought a new set of friends and acquaintances.

Michael had a remarkably good memory, which led to success in college, employment, and the

ability to instantly recall birthdates and the sports scores of past decades. He loved tennis and

was an accomplished player, having honed his skills at Swarthmore College under the tutelage

of legendary tennis coach Ed Faulkner. He played with friends from the Patent Office for many

years. He also loved hiking and enjoyed telling about the time he and a friend hiked through

the night to reach the top of California’s Mt. Whitney for the sunrise. And to hear him tell this

story was to understand that this was for him an awesome, deeply moving experience.

A celebration of Michael’s life will take place at St. Columba’s on Saturday, December 3, at 11

am, followed by a reception. Donations in his memory may be given to St Columba’s Episcopal

Church, Washington, D.C.; St. John’s Episcopal Church, McLean, VA; and the Humane Rescue

Alliance, Washington, D.C

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