Obituary: Michael David Gregory

Longtime educator, traveler, volunteer

Michael David Gregory was born in Phoenix, Arizona on October 28, 1947. He died unexpectedly, but peacefully, of a massive stroke on August 13. His death was unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was 72.

He was an enthusiastic, joyful and wide-ranging traveler who had many adventures with his wife, Susan Sirney Gregory. But the things most special to Michael were closer to home—his unique Claremont house, his citrus orchard, his closest friends, the botanic garden, his collection of books and Bert and Rocky’s.

In his younger days he was the star running back of his high school football team and an expert skydiver with over 100 jumps. He was a 1966 graduate of Phoenix Country Day School.

In 1971 he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, followed by a master’s degree and teaching credential from Claremont Graduate School, now Claremont Graduate University, in 1976.

He was married to Christine Garrett from 1973 to 1978, and to Susan Sirney from 1986 until his death.

A longtime educator, Mr. Gregory enjoyed teaching all grades throughout his career at Valencia Elementary School in Upland. As he did with everything, he brought warmth, humor and a love of life into his classroom. This included a classroom beyond four walls; from 2005 until shortly before his death, he loved being a volunteer and docent at the California Botanic Garden, sharing his knowledge and love of nature with groups of people young and old.

In both his younger and later days he liked loud rock and roll, road trips to Baja and beyond, being outdoors, working in his grove and reading about politics and history. He especially enjoyed spending summers with Susan and family and friends by the Duckabush River on the Olympic Peninsula over the last 45 years. He was perhaps most content sitting quietly with his wife and their lab Mogul.

He showed great courage in dealing with throat cancer in 2012, as well as the lingering effects of radiation therapy. He was a grateful and founding member of The Milkshake Club with Hai Muradian and Phil Lovelady, soon joined by Randy Miller. Together, these friends met regularly to talk about their lives, give each other support, laugh outrageously and consume thousands of calories.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. T. Richard Gregory and Mary Ellen Stuart Gregory of Phoenix; younger brother Matthew; and nephew Nathan Gregory.

He is survived by his wife, Susan; younger brother and sister Paul and Nancy; niece Jane Gregory; nephew Jason Roberts; great-niece Opal Gregory Vandeloo; great-nephew Cyrus Roberts; sister-in-law Margo Bendheim Gregory and much of the Sirney family. He will be missed by all of the Sirney family, the Gregory family and so many others.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the California Botanic Garden at, or to a charity of your choice.


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