Miguel Angel Sancho II
Miguel Angel Sancho II (Mike) died peacefully at home on Saturday, 26 June 2021 in the company of his devoted wife of twenty-five years, Bridgett Shirley. He was surrounded by his children as well.
Mike was born at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City on 31 January 1941, the first and only son of Miguel Angel Sancho and Milagrosa (Millie) Delgado Sancho. After attending Manhattan College Preparatory High School, Mike studied for two years at Manhattan College and then transferred to the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. He graduated from MIT with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1961. Mike went on to complete a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Kansas in 1966; his degree was officially conferred in 1967. In November of 1966, he married Marta Isabel Zamora, with whom he eventually had two children, Miguel Angel Sancho III and Victoria Sancho Lobis (née Victoria Ana-Teresa Sancho).
In 1967, Mike taught chemistry at the University of Venezuela in Cumaná through a program administered by the Ford Foundation. He then returned to the Midwest after he and Marta traveled in Europe for several months of 1968. Mike taught at Ottawa University for over forty years, first at the flagship campus in Ottawa, Kansas, and after 1977 at the Kansas City campus. Through Ottawa’s distance learning and certificate programs, Mike had many opportunities to teach in other places: New Orleans; Wilmington, Delaware; and various cities in Southeast Asia, including Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A devoted teacher and mentor, Mike took great pleasure in supporting his adult students in their degree completion programs. During the 1980s and early 1990s, Mike also served on the Desegregation Board of the Kansas City, Missouri public school system—a civic cause in which he felt privileged to participate. After retiring from Ottawa University in 2010, Mike volunteered as a tutor through Penn Valley Community College.
Mike was received in the Episcopal church in 1989, at which time he became an active member of the parish at St. Mary’s Episcopal. Over his decades of affiliation with the Episcopal Church, Mike served on the vestry committee and later acted as the Master of Acolytes at St. Mary’s. Mike also devoted considerable time to the work of St. Mary’s food pantry. He and Bridgett were married at St. Mary’s Episcopal in 1995, and later became members of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, eventually joining the St. Paul’s parish community in 2014. In addition to his work through St. Mary’s, Mike also gave his time to Project Uplift, a program that facilitated meal delivery to those uncomfortable with coming into food pantries. Mike received training to become a lay eucharistic minister. Over the many years of his marriage to Bridgett, the two of them brought communion to the sick and shut-in members of their community, including those afflicted by the AIDS epidemic. Mike also served as a member of the Ethics Committee at St. Luke’s Hospital, a role that propelled him to complete a one-year course in chaplain training. In more recent years, he volunteered with long-time friend and colleague Peter Sandstrom in the Meals on Wheels program of Kansas City.
An adventurous traveler and committed bon vivant, Mike will be remembered by many for his generosity of mind and spirit, his erudition and intellectual curiosity, and his passion for the arts, not to mention his booming voice and distinctive beard. Mike was also an energetic athlete, as his enthusiasm over the years for judo, racquetball, aerobics, and swimming made clear. Those who enjoyed the pleasure of his company will remember his desire to mark every Feast Day and celebrate every holiday, not only those of his own faith but also those of many others. Often ready with a line from a favorite Shakespeare sonnet or play—King Lear was the work he taught most frequently and passionately–Mike can be remembered as a latter-day Falstaff, of prodigious wit and warmth.
In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by his three grandchildren, Lydia, Sebastian, and Claudia. He is also survived by Gregory Shirley, his much-loved brother-in-law; his darling niece, Erin; Justin Shirley, his dear nephew; and Hannah and Aiden, Justin’s wife and newborn son.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
11 East 40th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64111