Pet Star 20 Under 40

Local businessman killed in Lake George boat accident

2014-05-24T07:20:00Z 2014-05-24T18:33:10Z Local businessman killed in Lake George boat accident Glens Falls Post-Star

BOLTON -- One of The Michaels Group co-owners died late Friday night after a boat he was piloting slammed into the shore of Lake George near Cotton Point, according to police.

John H. Michaels, 57, of Bolton Landing, was pronounced dead at Glens Falls Hospital after the 10 p.m. crash near Cotton Point Road, State Police said in a news release.

Michaels, who led the family home-building business with his brother, was alone in a 21-foot Steiger powerboat when he hit rocks and trees at the shore and suffered "massive trauma," police said.

The cause remained under investigation, and State Police are being assisted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Police said they believe Michaels experienced a medical problem and an autopsy and routine toxicology tests will be performed.

Bolton Police, Bolton Fire Department, Bolton Emergency Medical Services and Lake George Fire Department assisted at the accident scene.

Michaels is survived by his wife, Sheila, and children Luke, Tom and Katie.

Luke Michaels is vice president at the home-building company.

John and his brother, J. David Michaels, were The Michaels Group's managing partners. They started the business with their father.

"We learned from our Dad that our foremost responsibility was to meet all our commitments and strive to exceed our customers' expectations. John's death is a heartbreaking loss to our family, co-workers and so many friends. We will carry on in his name with the same dedication to excellence and integrity," David said in a statement from The Michaels Group.

According to the statement, David will assume his brother's responsibilities.

Based in Malta, the company has built more than 10,000 homes and more than 50 residential communities in the area.

John was an experienced boater and pilot who volunteered for more than 100 flights for Angel Flight, an organization that provides adults and children with free transportation to distant hospitals for needed medical care by connecting them with volunteer pilots.

In an interview with The Post-Star in 2007, John talked about his frequent Angel Flight missions -- two each month at one point.

"I felt that since I was fortunate enough to have a plane, I should give something back," John said in 2007. "And, it's really fun meeting all sorts of different people."

John and his family traveled to Guatemala frequently to build schools and help improve health in impoverished Mayan communities, according to a statement from The Michaels Group.

"John was nearly as well known for his philanthropy as for his business leadership," the statement said.

He also supported St. Peter's Hospital's ALS Center, Albany Medical Center, Glens Falls Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, the Glens Falls YMCA, Ronald McDonald House of Albany and more.

In addition to being a business leader and a pilot, John also practiced law occasionally. He is a SUNY Plattsburgh and Albany Law School alumnus.

The Michaels brothers began their home building careers in Colorado before returning to the area in the early 1980s to join their father, James Michaels, in business. He was a partner in Rosen Michaels, and together the father and sons team formed The Michaels Group.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Wednesday at The Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Goodman Road, Bolton Landing.

Burial will follow at Bolton Rural Cemetery.

Relatives and friends are invited from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Singleton Sullivan Potter Funeral Home, 407 Bay Road, Queensbury

A full obituary will appear in the Monday edition of the Post Star.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. kjo2009
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    kjo2009 - May 25, 2014 1:12 am
    @peter1135. He and another group raised 121g for the St. Peter's ALS center a few years ago. That is simply amazing.
  2. signals75
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    signals75 - May 24, 2014 11:36 pm
    I met John when he was taking flying instruction at the Warren county airport. He was the nicest, most unassuming person you could meet. He helped me with things when he didn't have to, a very generous individual....He will be missed
  3. Billrich
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    Billrich - May 24, 2014 11:26 pm
    I never wanted to know what it felt like to lose your best friend... I now know what it feels like to lose your best friends brother...
    "Save us a seat John"...
  4. holyqby
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    holyqby - May 24, 2014 10:04 pm
    John was an amazing person with a heart of gold. I was fortunate enough to have worked for him and his brother Dave. Thank you for all that you have done for individuals and the larger community. Rest peacefully John and May the Lord provide strength to your family and friends who are devastated right now.
  5. kjo2009
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    kjo2009 - May 24, 2014 5:31 pm
    What a shame. I remember the Michaels Group donation to the ALS center on the wall. What a great group of people. My condolences to the family.
  6. peter1135
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    peter1135 - May 24, 2014 3:55 pm
    peter1135 Its always sad when someone dies . But what makes this even sadder is that he sounds like he was such a Wonderful kind person that helped and gave his all to help so many people in need . Sound like this is a Big loss for everyone . RIP John Michaels .
  7. Grandma22
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    Grandma22 - May 24, 2014 8:03 am
    Unfortunately, summer has begun :-(


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