- Photo submissions
While in college at CU, my Uncle Myke quickly established himself as the cool uncle. Although I was very young at the time, one lasting memory sticks out. He would often come over in his bright yellow motorcycle and black leather jacket. For a five year old boy, nothing could have been more exciting but out of reach than the yellow motorcycle. On my bicycle I would emulate my uncle, pounding my legs while making the sounds of an accelerating engine. For my sixth birthday, no toy, cake or party would be greater than a ride on the motorcycle. A few days after my birthday Uncle Myke’s signature blue helmet lay next to the motorcycle, but also so did a much smaller black helmet for me! Slowly connecting the dots, before I knew it the helmet was strapped in and me in front of him straddling the motorcycle. Dramatically revving the engine much to my excitement, we were off! The ride seemed both an eternity and an instant, the snapshot of me zooming along the familiar neighborhood street with me forever.
He was a master at conjuring adventures and memories no matter whom, where, or where. Much past his motorcycle days, he always created opportunities for memorable experiences whether it be sneaking me off from the pool for wedding ring shopping and a surprise arcade visit, or going up to the rooftop of his apartment building in New York City to open a champagne bottle shooting the cork all the way to the adjacent rooftop or being a sanctuary away from campus during my college times while enlisting me in dirt removal services for all-you-can eat sushi. Despite his diagnosis, his upbeat attitude never let up as he turned from hiking to laps around triangle like path of the hospital ward, the pace so quick that on some corners a wheel or two of the medical pole with his IV would bank above the ground. His eagerness to be with people, energy, and the ability to craft magical moments with others are sorely missed. The immediate smiles and laugh may have faded, but the memories of our time together remain strong.
- Joy, freedom, and adventure
One of my favorite memories is from Li-Ming and Myke’s wedding. Kara and I were dancing, and the picture of it encompasses a feeling of joy, freedom, and adventure. All of these things make me think of Myke and some of the adventures we shared, like hiking up Pioneer Peak and going on an epic fishing trip for his fortieth birthday. I wish I would have been able to spend more time adventuring with him.
- Myke was a gorilla!
I’m Myke’s brother Alek and today would have been his 42nd birthday – it’s so sad that he is no longer with us.
There are countless stories I could tell about him, but here’s a short one from almost exactly 14 years ago. Myke and his soon-to-be-wife Li-Ming had come out to Colorado in late October/2006. As typical for Myke, he had some zany plans … which was to run a 5K charity race in Denver … while dressed in a gorilla costume!
I suggested doing so while wearing HULK HANDS … and Myke went along with my crazy idea as seen in the pictures. There’s also a few pictures of us chilling out the next morning – note Myke had his ever-present cup of coffee … plus the bacon was already out to make some Komarnitsky BLT’s.
Myke left a Gorilla costume at our house and I’ve used it several times … including the following year when a Denver Post photographer took a picture my Christmas Lights … with The HULK, Spider-Man, and a Gorilla. 😉
Myke gave it a big thumbs up!
- Always Upbeat
I met Myke at least by age 12 but probably earlier as our families both attended Sacred Heart church and it’s possible we were in Sunday School/CCD together but I don’t remember exactly. We became good, close friends in middle school, through high school and beyond. I remember taking tennis lessons at the B.A.C. with Myke and swimming at Chism beach and Burrow’s landing; each a short walk or bike ride from his parent’s house. We were pretty mobile on our bikes. Many activities brought us together growing up including tennis, snowboarding, church youth groups, and a mutual enthusiasm for the movie Top Gun. As we entered high school and aged into getting our drivers licenses, we could drive ourselves up to the pass to snowboard and organize our own camping and backpacking trips with others (Ben, Matt, Alex, Todd). Lake Kachees and Salmon La Sac were two of our favorite camp spots; both within a couple hours drive from Bellevue.
I remember he read all the time. Especially Sci-Fi and all of the Tom Clancy books. Of course he was super bright and excelled academically and then later in business. I think he enjoyed anything that was challenging. Rock climbing, snowboarding, computers; …computers and rock climbing together..
We didn’t see as much of each other as we got older, but I’ll always be grateful to have known Myke and to have shared these memories and others with him.
– Rob McKinstry
- Last workout with Myke
As many of you know Myke liked games and challenges. During the family’s 2018 trip to Hawaii I was in really good shape as I was a varsity athlete at the time and Myke had the bright idea to challenge me to a running race. 3 miles round trip to the Obama house down the beach and back. We both started out of the gate at a really good pace, wanting to beat the other. Now 3 miles is not that long of a run but because we were being competitive we were going at a quick pace. When we got to the Obama house I was slightly ahead of Myke and tried to showboat a little by waiting for him to get to the Obama house. When he got to the Obama house we both took a 90 second rest and I thought that Myke was done, but the moment that 90 second timer went off Myke took off running. In the end Myke finally beat me by a few seconds back to the house. There was no way that without each other Myke and I could have done that run at the pace we did. We both didn’t know at the time, but this would be the last full workout that we did together.
- Wedding memories
One of my earliest memories of Myke was getting to be the flower girl at his wedding. I don’t think I really knew what a wedding was for, I was just excited to look like a princess. My biggest impression of the day was the joy that surrounded everything. I remember the silence in the church as Myke and Li-Ming said their vows and the loud celebration that followed. I remember being scared for Li-Ming’s dress when Myke fed her the first piece of cake. I remember how much fun everyone had dancing on the grass and how, despite all the chaos of children running around them, Myke and Li-Ming seemed to be in their own bubble of joy. It was the first wedding I had been to and I remember thinking maybe this is what adults mean when they talk about love and partnership. It was a truly beautiful event and I was honored to be a part of it.
Submitted by Kara
You know when you have an idea and you share it with someone and they get super excited to help you figure things out? Myke was always that person and one of his favorites was helping to plan a surprise. My name is Wendy and I’m married to Myke’s brother Alek.
When my husband was turning 40, I wanted to do something special. With two small boys, I knew I couldn’t plan a surprise party at our house without him knowing about it, so I asked Myke to help me. Alek thought it was just going to be a regular party, but alas, this was no regular party as Alek’s parents and brothers flew in to surprise him. Since Myke was an avid outdoorsman, he had helped me plan the second surprise part of the celebration, which was a climb to the summit of Longs Peak, a 14’er that we can see from our house. Myke had organized all the gear for everyone and had obtained the permit to camp at the boulder field before summiting early the next morning. I couldn’t have pulled off the surprise without him.
Another surprise was when I had told my two young sons Dirk and Kyle that I needed to go to the airport to pick up my boss Ben. We stopped and waited…no Ben. I opened the back of the minivan to stall for as much time as possible before security told me to move off. Finally I told the boys we had to circle back as “Ben” hadn’t appeared. After closing the back of the van, I pulled away and as we rounded the curve, Myke jumped up from the back yelling “surprise” to the delight of the boys. They always looked forward to time with Uncle Myke.
When Myke’s brother Alek decided to propose to me, it was (surprise!) a SURPRISE! There were too many details for Alek to do so he enlisted Myke to assist. We started the morning with a long hike to the top of Green Mountain (just behind the Boulder Flatirons) – Alek told me his brother Kris was going to flyover in an Air Force Jet. When the plane came by, it was instead a Cessna with a banner asking me to marry him. Needless to say my knees were shaking and I didn’t relish the thought of hiking all the way back down the mountain. Alek steered me in an alternative direction that was a short walk across the ridge line … and we came upon a mountain house which (surprise!) had Alek’s car parked in the driveway. Myke had driven it up there along with a change of clothes plus food and champagne for us to celebrate. Alek had actually “rented” the house from the owner for that evening so we could have dinner and a hot tub as the full moon rose over the mountains. Myke’s assistance was key to making this one of my most memorable nights of my life. Coming back and seeing his ear-to-ear grin was so nice to see.
For many years we called the downstairs bedroom at our house “Myke’s room” as he spent several summers here and used the room as a getaway when he needed space from his college housing situation. To thank us, he gifted us a “getaway” night at the fancy Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs including watching our toddler Dirk. All was good until Dirk had an explosive poop, this time a surprise for Myke, albeit an unpleasant one. This was more than Myke could handle so he scooped up Dirk and carried him down the street with his arms outstretched to get help from my dear friend Nancy and have her clean things up. We still laugh about that. Myke was always game to help and super generous even if it meant getting in over his head. I bet by the time his own beautiful girls arrived he was able to handle diaper changes like a champ.
Myke was just 17 (I was 31) when I met him. He was just starting at CU Boulder and super excited about the world and all that was ahead of him. It was always a treat to see him during the eight years he lived in Boulder and he often came by to have dinner or a drink (such as the sausage daiquiris when I was in labor with Kyle). We all were excited to see Myke so smitten when Li-Ming entered the picture. After graduation, they moved to New York City and surprisingly they managed to host me, Dirk and Kyle in their tiny 400 square foot apartment for a sleepover. We were fortunate that they decided to get married in Colorado so we got some extra visits.
It was heartbreaking to get the terrible news of Myke’s cancer diagnosis and devastating when he left us too early. He’ll always have a special place in my heart and I think of him often when I’m in “Myke’s Room”.
- Bro Powder
Here are a few of my most memorable pictures with Myke including from the glory days of “operation bro powder”, an annual skiing and snowboarding trip with the brothers. The big smack talk before and after was almost as good as the skiing/boarding. I will mostly miss Myke’s intellect and companionship trying to untangle the world’s tough problems.
Submitted by Kris
- Memories with my brother in the Outdoors
Myke was such the outdoor guy and loved being in the woods, on top of the mtns and fishing on the water. There are so many great memories but here are a few with pics.
CLIMBING and BIKING – For Myke’s Bachelor party he wanted to get outdoors and had an idea to head down to Zion National Park where we hiked up 6-7 miles to the upper rim and then canyoneered (hiking/Rappelling/swimming) down to the bottom of the canyon with a couple of his buddies Shawn and Ben. It was full on Batman and Robin stuff with ropes to belay down vertical faces and then once we got to the bottom we had to hike/swim thru the river to get out. It was an all-day endeavor and the beers and food tasted so good back at our campground. We camped out for days and went mountain biking on nearby Gooseberry Mesa as well. After that we drove into Vegas but that’s another story. No vegas pics or story, sorry.
When he lived in Boulder just out of school we took a roadtrip down into Moab where we rode the Slickrock. I took him on some tough trails that really tested him. So then the next day he says let’s go climb what he called an “easy” route up this sandstone rock. Well it was called Ancient Art and it was vertical, steep and treacherous that required us to be roped in. He totally ambushed me and scared the crap out of me taking me up that climb. He was real happy with himself about that. Even got a chance early on to urban mtn bike thru NY City with Li-Ming and Myke when they lived there.
SNOWBOARDING – Myke rocked on the snowboard and could pretty much ride anything with grace and style while just ripping it up. In 2017, Shawn, Myke and I hit the North Cascades for a heli trip out of Mazama, WA in just perfect blue sky, no wind, and great snow conditions. We ended up doing 8 bumps (that’s a heli ride to the top) and on the final trip the guide and Shawn headed down and Myke and I looked at a killer line of untouched POW that started on a rocky ridgeline and then dropped into a perfectly gladed tree line. He said “you go first since its your birthday” and I said “no its okay you go first.” Then we looked at each other and said lets rip it together and we blasted down that run side by side whopping and hollering the whole way down to da choppa. When the girls were ready to ski Myke traded in his board for skis so he could join them and they are little mountain rippers now and they hoot and holler down the mountain just like their Dad. We also had many unforgettable Bro Powder trips where we would watch the weather and all 4 brothers would meet in either Colorado, Utah or Washington for a heli or cat skiing trip and good times with the brothers.
FISHING – So many good times fishing with my brother. Great times with his girls along with their excitement yelling “FISHON” bringing huge smiles to our faces. Trolling around our Not So Secret Lake for trout with three girls focused on their rods and whatever snacks they could find in the boat was great joy. One salmon fishing story is we met at my boat in Edmonds at 6 AM and he tells me, “I have to be in Seattle for a 2 PM meeting to close a deal at F5 so we better not go to far and catch ’em quick.” I laugh and blast north 20 miles to Port Townsend where we fish deep on Mid- Channel Bank. I tell him to make sure he sets the hook good and sure enough he grabs the rod and sets the hook not once but three times, violently slamming that hook into a nice King Salmon. Between fish battles he worked on his laptop and he made the meeting and the deal at F5. Lots of fun visiting our sister in Alaska too and laying a smack down on Silvers too especially on his 40th Birthday which was supposed to be a surprise but I blew the surprise with Myke which is another story.
Myke had such a passion for the outdoors and made it a point to get his three girls out there at an early age and he has passed that passion onto them and I wish that he was here now to make more of his own memories with them. I love you Brother and hold dear so many great memories of you.
Submitted by Kurt
- Remembering Myke
Myke will be always most fondly remembered by everyone who had an honor to know him. As many people wrote about him on Facebook, really one of a kind.
It has been a great honor for me to meet such a wonderful couple as Li-Ming and Myke. Furthermore, it is so admirable how supportive Li-Ming had been over the course of Myke’s health situation.
This is how our paths crossed. Myke and I got assigned in the same group during the first required step of the MBA program at Georgetown University. It was the FedEx integrative in Virginia, which started about this time of year, back in 2004. Since the very beginning, it became evident how easy a close friendship with Myke could develop. A couple of weeks later, upon the completion of the integrative, we all returned to DC and started to figure out who is located where. Myke’s roommates, Abdullah Dahman and Dan Duckart, were in the same main study group with me for the first year. All three of them were great hosts. Very often many of us, myself included, visited the place both for super serious study sessions in a very rigorous grad program and awesome parties. I recall how Myke was telling about his start of the relationship with Li-Ming. We were standing outside of the apartment on a late summer/early autumn warm and pleasant DC night. Myke spoke very nicely and excitingly about Li-Ming from the very beginning of their truly perfect relationship. The Komarnitsky/Ueng family is so special in being such a great exemplar of mutual support and friendliness. It is a great honor and a privilege for me to know you, folks. Li-Ming and Myke both made the Georgetown MBA program stronger and contributed an integral part in development of integrity, professionalism, cooperation, reliability, and amiability.
Since the start of our friendship, it has been very impressive to witness how many diverse things Myke encompassed in his knowledge and interests. Business, sports, mountain climbing, poker, politics, music, etc. For example, we both liked Frank Sinatra. Myke always shared his great expertise about Sinatra’s songs.
Myke constantly acted in modesty, respect, and kindness. When Myke went on to become a prominent business consultant, a successful entrepreneur, and an industry leader, he kept the same easy going, nice, friendly, and kind attitude. Based on growing up in a military family, Myke had a very special honor to the U.S. Armed Forces. He participated in ROTC. On the Veteran’s Day, he sent a very nice message in honor of the veterans.
Myke’s energy always reached enormous levels. Once late at night, during one of the overwhelming exam periods at Georgetown, there came an email from Myke about hockey. As for me, I had enough energy only to read that message.
Myke always offered a helping hand. It was so natural for him, that he could not even think otherwise. It could be a tough part of a group study project or an outdoors trip, you could always rely on him.
By the way, Myke’s grandfather on the fathers’ side was originally from the same area, Rivne region in Ukraine as me. Myke’s grandfather grew up in the city of Dubno and I did so in the city of Rivne.
My sympathies, prayers, thoughts, and most fond memories are with your wonderful family.
Submitted by Vlad Vepryev