October 20, 1948 – October 21, 2019
Michael ‘Mic’ Detlefsen, 71, passed away peacefully Monday, October 21, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. Mic was born on October 20, 1948, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to the late William and Janette (Tuttle) Detlefsen.
Mic spent his childhood in Fremont, Nebraska. He came from humble beginnings, the son of a meat inspector and homemaker. Mic attended Midland College for one year, before transferring to Wheaton College on a football scholarship. Mic and Martha met shortly after he transferred to Wheaton, when he spotted her walking through the student lounge where he was playing cards. It was love at first sight. They married on December 20, 1969. To help put himself through school, Mic worked as a garbage man in Chicago. He was grateful for this job, which later became a source of many colorful stories (often rat-themed). After graduating from Wheaton (’71), Mic and Martha moved to Baltimore, where Mic earned his PhD in Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University (’75).
Mic began his academic career as an Assistant, and then Associate Professor, at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1975. He remained there until 1983. He began teaching at The University of Notre Dame as a Visiting Associate Professor in 1983, becoming an Associate Professor in 1984 and Full Professor in 1989. He was installed as a McMahon-Hank Professor of Philosophy in 2008. He held visiting professorships at the University of Split (1981-1982), the University of Konstanz (1987-1988, 1994), and at the Paris Diderot University (2007). He held a senior chaire d’excellence at the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) in France from 2007 through 2011. In 2015, he received the Rev. James A. Burns Award for exemplary contributions to graduate education; and, in 2016, received the University of Notre Dame’s Research Achievement Award. He was the founding president of the Philosophy of Mathematics Association and he helped create the Midwest PhilMath Workshop, now in its 20th year.
Mic had a talent for creative cooking on a large scale and loved entertaining at home. He often used ingredients grown in his beautiful garden. He had a special love for animals, and never met a dog he didn’t spoil rotten. Mic valued friendships and demonstrated a strong sense of loyalty by maintaining connections with many special people from his past.
Mic’s favorite place in the world was the home he shared with Martha. Married for nearly 50 years, Mic and Martha were blessed with three children, Hans (Emily Bradley) of Chicago, Anna (Eric Von Deck) of Granger, and Sara (Curtis) Creighton of Grand Rapids; six grandchildren: Eleanor Detlefsen; Greta, Will, and Ceci Von Deck; Connor and Michael Creighton. He is also survived by his brother, Bill (Melba) Detlefsen, and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held Saturday, October 26, from 5-7pm, at the McGann Hay, Granger Chapel, 13260 SR 23, enter at Cherry Rd.
Funeral Services will be held at Church of the Savior CRC, 1855 N. Hickory, South Bend, on Sunday, October 27, with additional visitation at 2 pm and service at 3 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Pet Refuge, 4626 S Burnett Dr. South Bend, IN 46614.