Michael Joe Gants


Michael Joe Gants
May 2, 1957 — April 24, 2024

Michael Joe Gants, known to his friends and family as Mike and as an unfailingly kind and generous man, died in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 24, of complications following surgery. He was 66.

Mike was born on May 2, 1957, in San Diego, the second of four children. His father, Wilbur Gants, was an engineer at Boeing, and his mother, Bernice (Thompson) Gants, worked as an administrative assistant at Green River Community College. In 1965 the family moved to Renton, Wash., south of Seattle, where Mike graduated from Kentridge High School in 1975. While in high school he joined the ROTC program and enlisted in the USMC shortly after graduation. He said he always wanted to be a Marine like his father. He served four years, including a posting on Okinawa, and was honorably discharged.

Mike was a successful entrepreneur. He owned a towing business and repair shop in Jackson, Wyo., and then later started Airport Automotive in Pinedale, Wyo. He spent the past 12 years traveling around the country working as a mechanic for construction companies, having been trained as a mechanic while in the Marines.  Most recently,  Mike and his wife purchased his familys pecan orchard in Cuchillo, New Mexico, and Mike took special pride in bringing the orchard back to life and repairing all the buildings.  Gants Family Orchard hosted its first event in December 2023 with the first annual Christmas at the Orchard.  Mike was very proud of this event, and it demonstrated that if Mike wanted to accomplish something, he always figured out how to get it done.

Mike acquired a deep love of the outdoors from his father, especially fishing. Whether trolling the ocean for salmon or casting flies in a river for trout, he never missed an opportunity to grab his rod and spend a few hours on the water. He was also an avid hunter, supplementing the family table with game he tracked through the woodlands or across grassy expanses.

Mike was a born teacher, not with a college degree but with common sense. A skilled diagnostician, he had a unique ability to fix just about anything.  He enjoyed teaching others how to do what he was exceptionally good at doing, always willing to help people who had automotive problems or to offer advice about opening their own shops. He also had an artistic side, playing drums in his high schools concert and jazz bands, and later becoming an accomplished potter.

Mike was an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and was sober almost all of his adult life.  He was always willing to help a suffering alcoholic or addict. He is remembered at AA meetings all across the country for saying, Im grateful to be sober and grateful I have a place to come.”  His life is a reminder that if you are suffering, please reach out for help, there is always someone like Mike willing to extend a hand of hope. 

Most of all, Mike was a wonderful and loving family man, compassionate, giving, kind, and generous. He was a caring husband, son, stepfather, dog father, brother and friend. All who knew Mike grew to love him.

Mike was married three times. His first marriage ended in divorce, his second, to Marian (Joerres), when she died in a snowmobile accident in 2014.  Mike is survived by his wife, Amy, his mother Bernice (Gants) Ritch, his stepchildren Aaron and Amanda DeWall, his brother David Gants, sister Jody (Steve) Allen, and nephew Jake Allen.

Arrangements are by Kirikos Family Funeral Home, Inc. & Sierra Crematory, LLC, 303 N. Cedar St., T. or C., NM 87901, 575/894-2574.  For online memorial messages please visit

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