Harold “Big Mike” Lainoff

Harold “Big Mike” Lainoff

Harold “Big Mike” Lainoff, January 19, 2018 

Native St. Louisan Harold “Big Mike” Lainoff, 91, passed away on January 19, 2018 in Springfield, Oregon.  Known widely from his years as a summer camp director in Missouri, Oregon and Georgia, he distinguished himself by engaging thousands of individuals through one-on-one interactions and unconditional love in his professional and personal life. Big Mike embraced each human being that he touched during his long life with his generous acts of love, absolute kindness and never wavering commitment to lead by example. He was indeed a guiding light to so many during their childhood and through their adult years—they considered him a father-figure and life-long friend.

Big Mike was an accomplished Storyteller, a nearly-lost social art that passes on wisdom from generation to generation. He cared deeply about his world and dedicated himself to sharing his compassion and love of freedom. He loved to tell stories and sing songs that gave positive inspiration about social justice and universal generosity. The characters in these songs and stories were always bound together in a fight against injustice and bigotry. He will always be heard, by so many children, telling them about Johnny Grapefruitseed who was ”young, and strong, and used to hardships,”always to the delightful howls of laughter, dancing and singing in the dining halls at summer camp. Overall, he set a nearly unattainable standard of graceful living on this earth.

A World War II Veteran, Big Mike married Fredricka “Fritzi” Lainoff in 1949; she predeceased him in November, 2015.  He is survived by his son Michael Lainoff and his wife Marna of Eugene Oregon, daughter Avery Leinova and her partner James Spake of Portland Oregon, and grandson Eden Lainoff and his partner Meaghan Scott of Flagstaff Arizona.  His extended family and countless friends in and beyond the St. Louis area also mourn his passing.

Visitation Monday, April 23rd 9:30 AM at BERGER MEMORIAL CHAPEL, 9430 Olive Blvd,  followed by memorial service at 10:00 AM. Interment B’nai Amoona Cemetery.His family requests that donations in his memory be made to the following camping organizations (in support of his caregivers, their kids, and their communities):Eugene Rec (www.eugene-or.gov/2851/Donate-to-Rec) and the Willamalane Park Foundation (http://willamalaneparkfoundation.org/donate/). BERGER MEMORIAL SERVICE