Michael Lee Masterson, Emeritus Professor of Music at Northwest College and longtime resident of Powell, passed away on April 1, 2023. He was 72 years old.
Born on a pig farm in Indiana in 1950 to Charles and Margaret (Beason) Masterson, Mike was the oldest of five siblings. He famously came home from first grade one day declaring his intent to go to college. From Ball State University to Arizona State for his Masters, the University of New Mexico for his PhD, and of course Northwest College for his gainful employment, Mike spent nearly his entire life educating and enriching the lives of others. In 2011 he was recognized by the state of Wyoming with the Governor’s Arts Award, a fitting culmination of his years of service to the arts in the state.
Music shaped everything in Mike’s life, from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, the subject of his doctoral dissertation, to a passion for Bob Dylan to an appreciation for Taylor Swift. And if it wasn’t music, there were always sports on TV. Mike was a Superfan of so many things, like baseball (one of many long-suffering Colorado Rockies fans), the Denver Broncos and of course, his home state Indiana Hoosiers basketball. But his fandom didn’t stop at sports: he was also the biggest supporter of Northwest College, the community of Powell, and especially of his wife of almost 49 years, Pamela (Citino) - whom he met in a goldrush town called Victor, Colorado, when he was looking to borrow a Gordon Lightfoot album - and his children, Melina and Anthony. Both have followed their father’s lead and made careers out of his passions, Melina as an educator and Anthony as a senior MLB researcher for Fox Sports.
Mike’s parting words to his children before school each morning were always “think well”. He wanted them to think critically about the world and to experience the joy of learning. He was open-minded and studious, but his upbringing on the farm meant he was never afraid of a little hard work. He was never too tired to make time for his family, from helping with homework, to playing catch in the yard, to driving hours upon hours to all corners of Wyoming to see his children in any number of sporting events.
He was the epitome of what a role model should be. Thankfully he was able to meet his first grandson, John Michael, in 2019, who will be much older before he realizes the warming, supportive effect of Mike’s parenting passed down through Anthony and onto his own son.
Mike is survived by his wife Pam; daughter Melina and her husband Michael Clarke; son Anthony and his wife Nicole (Dimtsios) and their son John Michael; his mother Margaret Stewart; his siblings Gary, Mark, David, Barbara (Bradtmueller), Jen (Lacasse) and Jill (Hamann) and their spouses, children, and grandchildren; and his in-laws in the Citino family, for whom he was also a beloved brother and uncle.
Mike’s impact on the community and the people around him will not be forgotten. As long as we all remember to think well.
Per Mike’s wishes, there will be no services scheduled.