Mike Pesaresi, Jr., 85, passed away on December 9, 2019 at the Lake Village Rehab and Care Center in Lake Village.
He was born November 15, 1934 in Lake Village and was the son of the late Marino and Mary Pesaresi.
Mike married Ellen Lou Carpenter on September 25, 1958 in McGehee. He was a member of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and a former member of the Lakeport Hunting Camp.
As a young boy, Mike hopped cars at his dad’s cafe which was located at the site of the old Green Top Liquor Store. After his dad’s retirement, and a brief stint in the National Guard, Mike went into partnership with his sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Roy Howsen, as owners of Mike’s Café. He was well known for his many coveted “secret recipes”, which included spaghetti and meatballs, whole fried catfish, and “Mike’s” salad. After Mike’s Café closed, Mike continued to provide delicious food for the community. He was renowned for having a freezer fully stocked with his “secret recipe” spaghetti and meatballs and vegetable soup. Being a firm believer in the honor system, Mike often woke up to a freezer full of checks and cash, but no meatballs. Just as recently as a few months ago he was preparing chef salads with “Mike’s dressing” to share with his wife and any nursing home residents and staff who wanted to stop by his room for a bite.
His children will tell you that they learned their skills at dominoes, checkers, and poker from their daddy. He loved his weekly poker night with friends, and as you would guess he took seriously to the task of providing the snacks or meal.
He had a soft heart for the sick, aging, and needy. Many a sick person will tell of Mike bringing them his homemade vegetable soup after a rough round of chemo, or just a bout with a cold. He was quick to remedy any ailment with just the right recipe. Oftentimes, traveling families with no money would stop at Mike’s Cafe. After learning of their troubles, he would give them hamburgers and sandwiches to help them along their journey. He found great pleasure in tending to the yard of a sick or elderly neighbor who was no longer up to the task. He also enjoyed gardening and sharing his “harvest” with neighbors, friends, and relatives. Giving away a good “mess of greens”, and a bag of home-grown lettuce brought him great joy.
Although the restaurant was more than a full-time occupation, Mike found time for hunting and fishing. He loved cooking wild game for friends and family, especially squirrel putach. After retirement he spent a good deal of time on the fishing dock catching catfish, and in the woods hunting squirrel, rabbit, and deer. Although he would leave early in the morning for the hunt, and enjoyed many suppers at the camp, he always came home to his own bed at night to be with his family and enjoy a late night western.
Mike Jr. was preceded in death by his loving wife of 61 years, Ellen Lou Pesaresi.
He is survived by his children and their spouses, Mary Ellen (Joey) Greenway of Boydell, Liz (Freddie) Black of Lake Village, and Michael (Kim) Pesaresi of Monticello; six loving grandchildren, John (Natalie) Cannatella, Nina (Adam) Deal, Joseph Greenway, Nathan (Leah) Pesaresi, Olivia Pesaresi, and Anna-Marie Pesaresi; two great grandchildren, Elijah Cannatella and Victoria Cannatella; a sister, Maria Mulligan, and a host of nieces and nephews.
The family recognizes with sincere appreciation Deborah Porter, Carol Hicks, and Cheryl Davies who so lovingly cared for Mike and all the friends who visited him during the years of his illness. A very special recognition to his brother-in-law, Terry Carpenter, and sister-in-law, Betty Jones, who cared for him daily in a way that would have made their sister so proud. Their support carried the family through these last few years of difficulty. Those who knew him best will always see him with his apron on, and remember how he loved “Mama”.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 12, from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. with Rosary at 6 p.m. at Bishop-King Funeral Home Chapel in Lake Village. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Lake Village on Friday, December 13 at 10 a.m. with Father Stephen Hart as celebrant. Burial will follow in St. Isidore Cemetery in Lake Village.
Memorials may be made to Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, P.O. Box 272, Lake Village, AR, 71653 or the Lake Village Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1068, Lake Village, AR., 71653.