The Mitred Archpriest Michael Margitich reposed on November 11, 2017, Veterans Day. He was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, on November 29, 1928 to William (Vasili) and Anna Margitich, emigrés from Carpatho-Russia. His father was a cantor in Uzhgorod before coming to the U.S.
Fr. Michael attended St. Vladimir’s Seminary and Columbia University concurrently, and while there was married to Eleanor Gogats on June 14, 1952, at his home parish, Holy Assumption, Clifton, New Jersey.
He was ordained a priest in Cumberland, Rhode Island on July 18, 1953 by Archbishop Dmitri (Magan) and was assigned to All Saints in Hartford for a year before he became a chaplain in the Air Force in 1954. He achieved the rank of full colonel after serving for thirty years. He served at several Air Force bases; Parks AFB, Pleasanton, CA; Weisbaden AFB, Germany; Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MI, where he was able to procure and move an Air Force base chapel for use by the Orthodox community. He was next assigned to Saigon, Vietnam in 1966–67; Lowry AFB, Denver, CO; Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL; Hickam AFB, Honolulu; Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA; Scott AFB, Bellevue, IL; Andrews AFB, Washington DC; Hanscom Field, Lexington, MA.
At each of these facilities he provided Liturgical Services for Orthodox military personnel, as well as counseling and pastoral care for those who found in him a good and loving father. He always made an effort to establish friendships with local Orthodox clergy wherever he was posted.
Following retirement on November 11, 1984 in Massachusetts, Fr. Michael and Matushka Eleanor moved to Kingston, MA, to take over the budding Mission of St. Mark of Ephesus, in the Diocese of New England. Very quickly he was able to acquire a church building, no longer being used by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and oversaw the growth of the mission. In 1989, Fr Michael and Eleanor moved to Santa Rosa, California to be near family, and he was assigned by Bishop Tikhon of the West to be the chaplain for the Nuns at the Monastery at Point Reyes. He was also the confessor for the Nuns at Kazan Skete, after the Archimandrite Dimitri reposed.
He became the rector of the Protection of the Holy Virgin Parish in Santa Rosa in 1990, and organized the funding, design and construction of St. Seraphim Church in 1996. He retired as rector on December 31, 1998, yet continued to serve, counsel, work and support the parish in every way possible during its critical years of growth.