Mike Bakert, 63, of Chatham, NJ, formerly of Amherst, NY, passed away on Saturday, November 19, 2011.
Born and raised in Amherst, NY, Mike moved to Chatham 27 years ago. A self-made man, at age 16, Mike started work as a clerk for Bond’s, a men’s clothing store in Buffalo, NY. This touched off his long career in retail that ended 40 years later when he “retired” as a Vice President for Saks Fifth Avenue. Six months thereafter, a restless Mike began working as leasing director for Chelsea Property Group in Roseland.
About 18 years ago, Mike & Barbara got their first show dogs, Murphy and Dini whom served as the foundation for their kennel, Xlnt Chows. This began their long time dedication to the Chow breed. As a breeder/owner/handler, Mike won three Best-in-Shows with American/Canadian Champion Murphy’s Irish Red (“Kirby”) who was also #1 Chow Chow for two years in a row. Mike was an American Kennel Club judge and served as the President of the Chow Chow Club Incorporated.
Along with being a great animal lover, Mike was also a great humanitarian. He was the youngest president of Rotary, Amherst South and the Board of Directors of the Chatham United Methodist Church.
Predeceased by his brother Howard, Mike is survived by his wife of 39 years, Barbara (nee: van der Leun), daughter Vanessa Michael, son Michael James “Jamie” and his wife Sara; sister Bonnie McGee; brothers Bob, Bill, Don and Jim; and many nieces, nephews and their families; as well as beloved Chow Chows, Christie Lee, Artie, Otto, Bonnie, Audry, Nicholas & Georgia and extended family including, Mario Prisco and Jackie Wilson O’Brien.