Photography

Michael T Liss

June 1, 2022

Obituary

Michael T. Liss. aka Mike, Captain Dog, and the Great Santini passed away on June 1, 2022.  Mike was a beloved husband of 50 years, father, grandfather, friend, and community member.

He was a proud St. James Spartan and he was active in Salem in groups like the Chamber of Commerce. He spent his career working at DuPont and later in a shop he ran with his wife. In the 80s, you may have seen him cycling around Salem County. In the 90s, he was the guy rocking the perm who made cotton candy at the Pennsville West Coast Video. But, most people will probably remember him for his long gray ponytail and goatee after he retired. Throughout it all, he always had a bit of a smirk, because he was usually up to “shenanigans.” Mike was an irreverent wise-ass with a razor-sharp wit who would go to great lengths to execute a prank. (For example, sending items across the country for them to be placed in his daughter’s yard.) He was a truly funny man with way more than dad jokes. If you needed someone to liven up the dance floor at a wedding, he was your man - from the worm to “SHOUT,” he made it happen. He also held a firm conviction in his beliefs and he was not shy about sharing them. Now and then, he’d put that combination of wit and belief to use in public forums. Local Facebook groups will likely never be the same. He also believed in passing on important life lessons, like “buy it when it’s cheap and take two when it’s free.” Mike was always good with a careful turn of phrase, which also made him an incredibly creative cursor. We are self-censoring the many examples of this, but, whew, his road rage was a hoot. Mike was a dog-lover, although he had a menagerie of animals throughout his life. From a baby alligator to lizards and whatever else he could catch, his mother had many stories about all of the pets of his youth. In his adult years, his animal brood included a duck, rabbits, a blue and gold macaw, and eventually a cat. There was also a friendly family of raccoons, but we won’t get into that because of animal control. 

Mike was always passionate about his hobbies. In the 70s and 80s, he loved photography. That morphed into a love of cycling. (He even had a custom-made bike in St. James colors, green and gold.) Throughout his life, he enjoyed fishing. His dear friend George Piel said he knew everything about the tides and water temperature and he always wanted to catch some tautog. (If you’ve never seen one, do Google it and be ready to scream when you see the ones that look like they have human teeth).Mike always enjoyed antiquing with his wife and, on one fateful day in 1999, his daughter made a request for a piece for her new house. This sent his antiquing hobby into new heights. He never stopped and eventually, there was enough for an antique store and an eBay business. For many years, he was a fixture at local estate and garage sales. Mike was also passionate about buying local, especially his Jersey produce (or his beloved Niblock’s). In the 80s, he’d put the whole family in the car and go “asparagus hunting,” which may have involved some light trespassing, but put that on the list with the raccoons of things to ignore. He loved a perfect Jersey tomato and an ear of Jersey corn. He also enjoyed visiting the local orchards to pick berries. In recent years, he discovered mushroom foraging. He loved his forays into the world of mycology and made many friends in various forums. His interest in all things homegrown and natural also progressed to a love of the healing powers of … broccoli. Once broccoli dispensaries were more accessible locally, he became a very relaxed armchair expert on the topic. A man of eclectic tastes, he loved Oldies 98 (when they still played the music of his youth) and he forced his family to listen to countless hours of Friday with Frank and Sunday with Sinatra. He introduced his kids to artists like The Doors; Earth, Wind, & Fire; and Bootsy Collins. And, to thank him for this, they dragged him to concerts in their teen years, like Rush (he liked the laser shows) and New Kids on the Block (he got through it). Mike loved many tv shows and movies, but he always leaned toward the quirky. One of his favorite movies was Invasion of the Bee Girls and he enjoyed John Waters from time to time. One of his absolute favorite ways to spend time was watching a Phillies game on tv with his wife. 

Mike is survived by his beloved wife, Susette, their two children, Paul and Danielle, and his grandson. While Mike was a friendly extrovert, his introverted family has elected not to have services and asks for privacy during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers or cards, we ask that you donate to the Salem ARC, Mike’s favorite charity, in his memory.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Michael T Liss, please visit our floral store.

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