August 10, 1937 – June 3, 2021
Colonel (Retired) William Michael Harley USAF, age 83, of Brentwood, Tennessee, passed from this life on Thursday, June 3, 2021. He was born August 10, 1937 in San Francisco, California to the late Major William George Harley and Mildred Hallene Orme Harley. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his younger sister, Hallene "Cookie” Hageman.
Michael graduated from the US Air Force Academy Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the Class of 1963. After a year in AF Pilot Training, Michael first piloted the C-130 transport airplane for the next 7 years flying extensively in the States, in Europe and in the Pacific (including 235 combat missions in the Vietnam Conflict). Later, in 1974 Michael joined Strategic Air Command (SAC) where for 14 years he was a Strategic Bomber Pilot (B-52), a Squadron Commander and a Vice-Wing Commander. For his military Service, Michael received many decorations and citations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and several Air Medal's. After 34 years in the Air Force Michael retired with the distinguished rank of Colonel.
While in the Air Force, Michael earned two Master Degree's, one each from Georgetown and Auburn Universities. Michael served as an Adjunct Instructor, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Retired from the Air Force, Michael edited corporate, professional and academic writing for three decades, and was a newspaper columnist for a dozen years. He won two annual national awards for his columns. Michael's love for God and his fellow man reached new heights, when he wrote curriculum for Southern Bible College, and many of his Bible studies have been published. In 2009, he published his book, The Rapture, What the Bible Really Says.
Michael was an avid fly fisherman and enjoyed sharing the sport with his son. His love for the water while on the West Coast brought a fondness for walking the beach while collecting driftwood. He would use the driftwood to carve walking sticks with humorous characteristic faces. His great sense of humor exhibited with his sharp wit and artistic abilities as a Cartoon Artist. He brought enjoyment to many through his carvings and cartoon's. He was respected by many and enjoyed by all who knew him.
Michael will be remembered as a loving husband, dad, friend and true American Patriot. He is survived by his loving wife, Carolyn J. Daniels of Brentwood, Tennessee; son, Jeff T. Harley and wife, Ganette Harley of Lowell, Oregon; daughter, Christy M. Curtis and husband, Chris Curtis of Eugene, Oregon; grandchildren; Abby Curtis and Nate Curtis; and sister, Illona (Robert) Wilken of Eugene, Oregon.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held September 14, 2021 at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Service will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Academy Chapel. Burial to be at the Academy Cemetery. Reception following at the Academy Golf Club.