Michael Stanley Lax ’78
Michael Stanley (“Mickey”) Lax died on Friday, June 22, 1990, following a long illness.
Born on June 20, 1956, in Oakland, CA, to Edgar Leon and Gladys Helen (nee Ewing) Lax, Mickey grew up in a Navy family, frequently moving around the country. Upon his father’s retirement from the Submarine Force, the family settled in Orange, VA, where Mickey graduated from Orange County High School in 1974. While in high school, Mickey played baseball (his favorite sport), basketball, and football (co-captain senior year, playing both offense and defense). He also participated in several theater productions at school, including singing the lead in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” as well as numerous other extra-curricular activities.
Mickey entered the Naval Academy with the Class of ’78 as a member of 15th Company, rising to become an out-of-company striper during First Class year. As a midshipman, he majored in American Political Systems. To all of his company mates, he was known as a quiet, meticulous, competent, and professional midshipman.
Upon graduation, Mickey attended flight school in Pensacola, FL, and earned his coveted Wings of Gold. He subsequently served as a LAMPS helicopter pilot with HSL 36. Among other assignments, his helicopter embarked on USS Boone (FFG 28), homeported in Mayport, FL, for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Indian Ocean in 1984. During this tour with HSL 36, Mickey famously executed a dramatic emergency landing onto a very surprised Spanish merchant ship, saving both the helicopter and his crew.
After leaving active duty, Mickey signed on with Abbott Laboratories while he continued to serve in the reserves. Not surprisingly, he quickly ascended to become Abbott’s #1 salesperson in the entire country.
At the time of his death, Mickey was survived by his parents, his older brother Andrew Lax, and his younger sister Susan Lax O’Brien. After memorial services in Raleigh, NC, and Roanoke, VA, Mickey was buried at Sherwood Memorial Park in Roanoke. His parents are now buried there next to him.
In fitting tribute, Mickey’s love of baseball lives on in his namesake nephew, Mikey O’Brien, currently a Double-A baseball pitcher for the Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees).
Mickey loved his family, his friends, the Naval Academy, and his country. He was proud to have served in the United States Navy, and the Navy was privileged to enjoy his dedicated service.
Mickey epitomized President Kennedy’s statement: “I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.’”