Cover photo for Michael "Mike" John Karels's Obituary
Michael "Mike" John Karels Profile Photo

Michael "Mike" John Karels

August 2, 1956 — June 2, 2024

Eden Prairie

Michael "Mike" John Karels

A delayed recording of the Mass is available by clicking here.

Michael "Mike" J. Karels age 67 of Eden Prairie.

Mike passed away suddenly in Ottawa, Canada as a result of a cardiac event. Survived by his loving wife, Theresa “Teri” (née Spartz); daughter, Sarah and partner, Ivan Munkres; sisters, Colleen (Stuart) Lind, Mary Beth (Brad) Schleif and Katherine Karels; brother, Eugene (Ann) Karels along with many family and friends. Preceded in death by his parents, Patricia and Charles Karels.

Mike graduated from University of Notre Dame with a degree in Microbiology and completed graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. While working towards his PhD, he was exposed to computers and his interests shifted. He ultimately became a software engineer who was a pivotal figure in the history of Berkeley UNIX, a major touchstone in the history of modern computing. Through his work at Berkeley, he contributed to the implementation of the early internet, laying the foundation for the modern web. He was one of the authors of “The Design and Implementation of the 4.4 BSD Operating System", a seminal work in the field.

After his time at Berkeley, he served as a senior principal engineer across multiple organizations, including Wind River, Secure Computing, McAfee, Intel, and Forcepoint. In 2021 he retired and focused his time and talents towards volunteering for FreeBSD, a free operating system. Despite his success and importance in his field, Mike was always described as an extraordinarily humble, patient, and kind man who enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others.

Beyond his professional successes, Mike was a central member of his family as a giving and supportive son, brother, husband, and father. From an early age, he took on extra responsibility for leading, helping, and guiding family members in many ways, always with kindness, stability and logic.

Mike was also a passionate environmentalist. His love of nature started at an early age through cross-country camping trips with his family, with an overnight solo trip to Glacier National Park as a core memory. This passion grew over time and as an adult he became an active supporter of many environmental associations, was dedicated to the fight against climate change, and was locally involved in the removal of invasive plant species. He and Teri were able to enjoy their last national parks trip to the Grand Canyon and Zion in Fall 2023.

He had many diverse hobbies over the years, including interests in music and photography. His musical tastes were varied, ranging from Jethro Tull to Beethoven to Dave Brubeck. His interest in photography began in high school, where he set up his own darkroom in his childhood bedroom, and followed him into the modern era and DSLRs. During his time at Notre Dame he worked as a station manager for the campus radio station, playing classical music by day and photographing touring rock acts by night.

Mike was looking forward to spending the rest of his retirement coding, making home improvements, and seeing his daughter graduate medical school and get married. His loss will be felt by his family and friends but also the greater technology community.

Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, June 18 at 11:00 AM at the Pax Christi Catholic Community, 12100 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie.

Private interment Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

Visitation Monday, June 17 from 5:00-8:00 PM with memory sharing at 6:30 PM at Gearty-Delmore Park Funeral Chapel, 3960 Wooddale Avenue South, St. Louis Park and one hour prior to the Mass at the church. 

Memorials are preferred to the Free BSD Foundation; 3980 Broadway Street; STE #103-107; Boulder, CO 80304 or to donate directly click here  or Environmental Defense Fund to donate directly click here.



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Past Services

Visitation

Monday, June 17, 2024

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

A time for memory sharing will begin at 6:30 PM.

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Visitation

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Pax Christi Catholic Community

12100 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie, MN 55347

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Pax Christi Catholic Community

12100 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie, MN 55347

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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