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Michael James Nee
March 19, 1951 ~ February 8, 2024 (age 72) 72 Years Old
1 Tree, Flower, or Condolence has been shared with support of Michael's family - View on Tribute Wall
Michael James Nee passed away on February 8, 2024, at the age of 72, while receiving hospice care in his home and surrounded by his wife, children, and friends.
Michael was born in Manhattan on March 19, 1951. His grammar school education was spent under the tutelage of the Christian Brothers of Ireland at All Hallows in Bronx, New York. He always remembered his religious education fondly, grateful for the strength and guidance he received, and spent his childhood years as enthusiastic about his studies as he was about playing baseball with the Brothers on the All Hallows All-Star team.
Michael loved the Roman Catholic Church from his earliest memories, even feeling a call to the priesthood as a young boy. He put the call aside when he entered the Bronx High School of Science, where he found a passion for performing arts in the school’s theater program. Following graduation, participation in regional summer stock performances established theater as his vocation. Michael went on to earn a BFA in Acting from the California Institute for the Arts in Valencia, CA, and an MFA in Directing from New York University in Manhattan. Through the 1970s and 1980s he worked as a director, producer, actor, and writer in television, New York City theater, a maximum-security prison, and theater festivals in the Northeast.
He and his wife Shannon met in New York City in 1990, became engaged, and were married at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan on December 13, 1992. Their child Brendan was born on September 16, 1994, and brought home to their apartment on West 17th Street. As his young family grew, and as the Church became the focus of their lives together, Michael felt the resurgence of his childhood call to ordained ministry. With Shannon’s support and Diocesan approval, he pulled up stakes in New York and moved the family to Ambridge, PA, near Pittsburgh, where he studied at Trinity School for Ministry and earned a Master of Divinity. It was during that season that their second child, James, was born on July 6, 1999.
After graduation, his first position was as Priest-in-Charge of Trinity Episcopal Church in Rock Island, IL, from 2000 to 2002. Shannon’s wish to return to Southern California, her birthplace and childhood home, coincided with an opportunity at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Carlsbad, CA, where Michael served as Vicar and led the church in lively growth. In 2006, he was called by the foundling Good Shepherd Anglican Church to serve as its Rector, where he pastored until his retirement in 2023.
It was in the summer of 2023, during his recovery from an almost fatal medical crisis, that Michael felt a deep conviction to return to the comfort and familiarity of the Roman Catholic Church, which had remained dear to him throughout the years. In November, after months of prayerful contemplation, he received the sacraments of absolution and communion. Michael received commendation two days before he passed, joining as he could in the Lord’s Prayer as his priest and family prayed with him by his bedside.
A key attribute of Michael’s life was his recovery journey, which largely directed his approach to ministry. In the spring of 1977, he received a life-changing answer to prayer one afternoon in Griffith Park; on June 18, 2023, he celebrated his 46th year of continuous sobriety. Michael is remembered and respected widely for his heartfelt outreach to every recovery community he lived in, even opening the doors of his home to provide housing for friends in recovery who had nowhere else to go.
Michael was a devoted husband and father, and there were many ways to spend enjoyable time with him. He loved hosting dinners for his family and friends and having long conversations over the meals he cooked. He loved film and television and enjoyed everything from Korean hospital dramas and Italian neorealist cinema to college football and international street food vlogs. He would put on music—spanning bebop, classic rock, Requiem Masses, Broadway musicals, and more—and eagerly talk about passages or lyrics that caught his ear. At museums, he took great interest in everything from ancient mosaics to contemporary installations; he delighted in both giving and receiving impromptu art history lessons. In short, Michael loved to experience and discuss anything he found intriguing, fun, and beautiful with his family and friends.
Michael is survived by his loving wife Shannon, his firstborn Brendan, and son James and daughter-in-law Erin. He was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Helen, and his brother, Dennis.