Michael Jones Paris
August 20, 2020
Michael Jones Paris passed away on August 15, 2020 in Lacey, Washington with his family beside him.
Mike was born in Worland, WY on March 11, to Scott Graham and Harriett Ann (Jones) Paris. Growing up in Worland, Mike was drawn to the cowboy way of life at an early age. His favorite book as a child was "Cowboy Dan" and he was a dedicated viewer of the western TV series of the 60's. As he grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he became active in the Boy Scouts of America and found a passion in mountaineering. In 1975 his father showed him a flat green non-running Willy's Jeep Pick-up. Together with his dad and his HS shop class he restored and modified that jeep into a reliable truck. This began his appreciation for all things Jeep which later included the restoration of a 1963 CJ-5 and a 1946 CJ-2A to name a couple. He graduated from WHS in 1978, ranked 7th in a class of 135. He enjoyed running and competed in Cross Country as well as Indoor and Outdoor track.
In 1979 Mike entered Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, sharing an apartment with his brother, Tyler. In 1980 he met Shawnee Martineau, graduated on April 22 and married Shawnee April 23. Following graduation, the couple moved to Worland for the summer. When fall came, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming. While in Laramie, he worked at Recycled Cycles and Skaggs Drug Store. This rekindled his love of bikes and riding with Tyler. Summer brought a job as a railroad track maintenance worker for Monolith Cement Company.
1982 brought the blessing of a son, Benjamin Michael Paris and in 1983 he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree. Not sure about the next step, he was contacted by the Director of Personnel for the State of Wyoming and an interview led him to a job at the Employment Security Commission as a statistician in Casper. It was in Casper the family added three children, Adam Ezra, Natalie and Katie Leigh. Mike's career moved from statistician to labor market supervisor then to an appointment by Governor Mike Sullivan as Executive Director of the Wyoming Occupational Coordinating Council.
In 1994, he was recruited by the governor of Washington State, Mike Lowry, to the position of Executive Director of the Washington State Occupational Coordinating Committee. The family relocated to Lacey, Washington. In 2000 the funding for his position was eliminated so Mike accepted the job of Deputy Director of the Labor Market and Economic Analysis (LMEA) Division. While at LMEA, he attended the University of Washington to complete the Executive Management Program. He was honored to receive various awards and recognition for his innovative career and labor market information tools, resources, and computer software. In September of 2004, he was offered a job as the Statewide Administrator of Offender Education at the Washington Department of Correction. This became his vocation as he dedicated his work to helping incarcerated men and women receive an education and have greater opportunities after release. He continued with this until his early retirement in 2017.
Mike was very artistic and was a natural at everything. He fought a challenging battle with cancer for over 6 years. His strength was an inspiration, his smile would light up a room and he was always the life of the party. Throughout his life, he was blessed to have Shawnee as a loving and dedicated partner. She was the best wife anyone could have and shared his devotion to family.
Mike was preceded in death by his father, Scott Graham Paris.
Survivor include his wife of 40 years, his mother, Harriett of Worland; his children, Benjamin, Adam, Natalie and Katie (Matthew) Lopes; six grandchildren; brothers, Tyler (Wendy) of Greeley, Colorado, Jeffery of Salt Lake City, UT, Chris (Jennifer) of Thermopolis, Wyoming and his beloved Siamese cat, Thai.
A Celebration of Life will be held 1:00 p.m. August 24, 2020 at Sanders Park in Worland. We encourage you to social distance and bring a camp chair and memories of Mike to share with the family. A private family interment will be held at Riverview Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Worland. Memorial donations to help the family with expenses may be made to Bryant Funeral Home and sent to PO Box 524, Worland, WY 82401. Online condolences may be made at http://www.bryantfuneralhomeonline.com.