Michael “Myke” Gregory Komarnitsky, businessman, family man, and 100% good guy, died after an 18-month battle with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma on March 8, 2020 at his home in Kirkland. He was 41.
Born on Oct. 22, 1978 in Bellevue, Washington to Betsy and Oleg Komarnitsky, Myke was the fifth of five children, a surprise bundle of joy with a mop of light brown hair and goofy grin. As the baby of the family, he endured years of good-natured teasing and at times must have wondered what he did to deserve six parents: mom and dad and four opinionated siblings. In a family full of love expressed largely through a healthy dose of good-natured sarcasm, Myke grew up thoughtful and sincere. In this raucous family, Myke was a listener.
After graduating from Bellevue High School in 1998, he left the Pacific Northwest for the University of Colorado at Boulder and took up rock climbing. In 2000 he and friends Ben Mottinger and Shaun Miller created ClimbingBoulder.com, the first online self-posting climbing site, which allowed people to post their own routes and share with others. Under their care, the site flourished and the venture blossomed into what is now called Mountain Project, owned by REI.
With an Aerospace Engineering degree in hand, in 2004 Myke took out a loan and, once again bucking the “wisdom” of his elder siblings, entered Georgetown University’s Masters in Business Administration program. There he met Li-ming Ueng, who would be become his partner in adventure and his wife. Together they moved to a tiny apartment in New York City, where Myke took a job with Booz & Company’s Aerospace Division.
At some point, the lure of the West Coast drew Myke and Li-ming back to Bellevue, where Myke worked as a partner for Arnold Consulting Group. They had three beautiful girls – Kaelyn, Adeline and Evelyn – all of whom have inherited his indomitable spirit and, fortunately, their mother’s looks. Myke shared his passion for the outdoors with his girls, starting them at the rock climbing gym and skiing at an early age.
Always looking for a challenge, he started running marathons and finished a 26-mile run from Snoqualmie Pass to North Bend in 2018. He responded to his cancer diagnosis with grace and dignity, continuing to look out for and comfort those around him in the midst of his battle. He maximized to the end, taking family trips to Arizona, New York and Costa Rica in 2019.
Myke is survived by his loving wife, Li-ming, and his three daughters, Kaelyn, Adeline and Evelyn, his mother Betsy Komarnitsky, his sister Stephanie and brothers, Alek, Kris, and Kurt, his aunts, Gail Rust and Inna Hays, and cousins Amy, Harlan, Paul, Michael, and Andrew. He was preceded in death by his father, Oleg Komarnitsky.
Myke is no longer with us but he will continue to inspire us to be better. He had a relentless desire to create and nurture good ideas. Above all, he wanted others to succeed.
As he wrote in 2006, “May all you continue to find the right things in life for you, and have the courage to go do them.”