Stop searching when you find the right one
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 10:00 PM
Although I'd never heard the term pyramid dating, it was just the ticket for this week's subjects. Only odd thing was they basically quit after the first step of the pyramid. You see, at Purdue in the 60s, there were four guys to every girl. Phil Michal's Farm House Fraternity brother, Ted Britton, complained that his social life was zilch and Phil agreed his was, too. Ted had known Judy Price (from Clinton Township School now Clinton Prairie) and said he'd set Phil up with her and Judy could get a date for Ted. Ted would ask someone for that person, and so the pyramid would grow and more people would meet new dates. Judy had been to the Farm House with a friend during high school and liked that kind of good, clean, down-home country boy so she didn't hesitate to accept the date. Basically, Phil and Judy stopped their side of the pyramid because they were quite happy with their finds.
Karen Zach is editor of Montgomery Memories, a literary magazine published by The Paper. Her column is published Thursdays in The Paper.
Phil grew up on a farm with Jersey cows. He helped milk them by hand then the family sold the cream. A small farm, they even named the cows, Sallie being Phil's favorite. She was like a pet and even let Phil ride her. From the age of 10, Phil Michal knew he wanted to be a veterinarian, as he had heard talk of medicine and curing all of his life from his mother who was an nurse. In his training, he particularly enjoyed working on the ambulatory crew that went to farms to aid the sick animals.
Graduating in vet science, while Judy majored in English (graduate work in library science), they first moved to Wingate where they purchased a clinic. Folks in the area couldn't believe he was in business as he looked like such a kid - in fact, he and Judy both still look 20 years younger than they are. In 1968, their Northwest Veterinarian Hospital in Crawfordsville was built and other than when Phil served as mayor for 12 years, he was Dr. Michal to pet owners in town. During his years as a vet, he particularly enjoyed working with wild animals. He got the most pleasure from an animal that was critically ill and he helped it through to get well. "It felt like you cheated the devil," Phil remarked.
Speaking of Phil's mayorship, he was one of my all-time favorite mayors, as during this time, there were some awesome city accomplishments. The Rail Trail and Athena Center were started and completed and the Community Center began. During his years in office, Phil was able to meet several political power houses, including Birch Bayh, Stephen Goldsmith, William Hudnut, Otis Bowen and even Ronald Reagan. At the Danville courthouse, being in the same room with Reagan was of course a thrill for Phil. However, when Phil decided to get a little closer, well, just ask Phil about his Reagan story. It's quite a hoot.
Three wonderful boys were born to Phil and Judy: Dave, Rich and Chris. Although females were nil in the first generation, the Michal's produced 12 grandchildren and (drum roll) seven are girls.
Dave is married to Leigh Anne, lives in Madison, Ala., and is an IntegGrapher. They have four sons and two of those gals.
Rich is the Executive Director of Facilities at Butler, married to Susan and has three young ladies.
The third son, Chris, lives in Gonzales, La., and is an Oceaneer working with submersible vehicles. Two daughters and a son with wife Tiffany round-out Chris' family. Although Dave and Chris currently live a few states away, Phil and Judy love now having everyone east of the Mississippi. On their 50th anniversary last summer, their whole family went to Gulf Shores in Alabama, a perfect anniversary all being together!
Many readers will remember Judy as the Hoover librarian which is how I got to know this fine lady. Her Read and Feeds funded with Book Fair profits were extremely popular. She said that Steve Spencer had an absolute blast decorating for them. I can attest to the fact that Judy is a fabulous librarian. I got a giggle when she said that she often quoted something that I told her once that, "Those who can read should!" She keeps abreast in the reading world with Louise Penny and Donna Leon mysteries.
The Michals love Crawfordsville, seeing it as such a unique place. Judy said that Jackie Tully explained it well saying that Crawfordsville tries to do what the larger cities do with less people. Judy said growing up in neighboring Clinton County that she can tell us that Frankfort and Crawfordsville are two completely different cities even though they are the same size, in a close area and have much in common. Crawfordsville is however enhanced by Wabash College, industry, agriculture, the rural areas being above average and the history and culture is superb. "It's the most happy city!"
The First Christian Church is important to both Judy and Phil, having been board members, deacons, elders, and Judy loves working with the kids doing Christian Education. Besides their activities in the church, Delta Kappa Gamma, PEO, Athenian are some of her interests and being in Kiwanis and on the Lay Leadership Committee, plus a Red Coat at the hospital and mentor for Youth Services are exciting for Phil.
Well, the article is coming to an end, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed interviewing Phil and Judy in their beautiful home (built by John Ewoldt of the Casket Company in the 1930s) that they have lived in for 44 years. Why, I was even greeted by two of the most beautiful cats I've ever seen, par for an animal-loving family, for sure. So, thanks Phil and Judy for the great time! Ahhh, I love this job!