Art Michel was remembered at a funeral service yesterday at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco. Art passed away on May 28. Today would have been his 85th birthday.
Art was past president of Market Street Railway, as well as serving as our secretary for several years and as a board member for many years. In honor of his service, we named him Director Emeritus when he retired from our board, the only board member to be thus honored.
His service to our organization was steadfast and selfless. His consistently upbeat personality made many friends for Market Street Railway and the F-line, both among leaders in the community and among the regular riders and Muni workers he would meet when he led our car steward efforts for many years at the Castro and Market F-line terminal. There, he supervised and worked alongside a wide variety of volunteers, from retired folks to developmentally disabled young people. He was a paragon of patience and good humor in this, as in everything he did.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Art grew up a rail fan, but treated it as a hobby as he got a college degree, served in the U.S. Navy, and spent almost a quarter-century as a social worker. He turned his hobby into his vocation in 1983 when he joined Muni as a transit mechanic working on the vintage streetcars during the first Trolley Festival. We were privileged to have his insights and judgment in our organization following his retirement from Muni.
Art was the very definition of leadership through humble service, a continuing example to us all. We miss him greatly.