Michael A. Cordoza

Michael A. CordozaMichael A. ‘Mike’ Cordoza died Oct. 27, 2019, in Ridgecrest, surrounded by family and friends. He was 73.

Mike was born on April 9, 1946, in Artesia to Joseph and Deolinda Cordoza and is proceeded in death by his brother Joseph Cordoza Jr. and his grandson Jason Cordoza.

He is survived by wife of 35 years, Lisa Cordoza; sisters, Margaret Cordoza and Pat and husband Ed Butler; children, Kevin (Carolyn), Mike (Le Ann) and Glen (Katie) Cordoza; grandchildren, Max, Chloe, Chaz, and Nathen Cordoza; and great-grandchild, David Cordoza.

Mike lived many lives, so please forgive our omission of those we’re not aware of, or missed.

Mike had a distinguished and decorated career. He served 26 years in the U.S. Navy (21 years in explosive ordnance disposal) and retired as chief warrant officer (CW04) in May 1989. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he earned the Bronze Star (with Combat “V”) for meritorious achievement.

He is remembered for his efficiency, professionalism, and bravery as he rendered safe, destroyed or captured more than 250 ordinance items under intense enemy fire.

During his time in the Navy, Cordoza served three years as a nuclear weapons maintenance technician and was assigned to several Presidential Support Teams, serving and meeting with Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush. He also served VIP support for Queen Elizabeth, Pope John Paul, Bob Hope and John Wayne.

The discipline and patriotism he learned while serving in EOD never left him. After retiring from the Navy, Cordoza supervised EOD clearance operations in Kuwait after the Gulf War (1991-1993) and held a management role as deputy program manager and safety engineer (1993-2015) in Ridgecrest. In addition to his occupational accomplishments, he earned a master’s in business administration at California State University, Bakersfield.

Whether he was among classmates, coworkers or friends, Mike treated everyone as extended family. He assumed responsibility for the safety and success of others, and he never wavered in his duty to complete a task or fulfill an obligation. His attention to detail and his generosity were legendary. He was stern yet fair, he was tough yet respectful, and he was hard yet loving.

Like all great leaders, Mike never hesitated to help someone in need, and he earned admiration through action, strength, honestly, and charm. He was opinionated and didn’t take crap from anyone. If you were out of line, he would let you know. And he would be the first to tell you he was right, even if he wasn’t.

People will remember him as someone with a great sense of humor and the life of the party. He loved sharing personal stories, which were insightful and funny, and conveyed many life lessons.

Most of all, he made everyone around him laugh, sometimes at his own expense. Just being around him made you feel better, happier, and more optimistic about life. His outgoing nature meant that he never met a stranger. If you were in his presence, you felt safe and welcome.

In his spare time, Mike enjoyed entertaining, woodworking, riding his motorcycle, camping, shooting, collecting (not hoarding), blowing stuff up, fixing things and assigning chores. More than anything, he enjoyed being around friends and family.

As anyone who has met Mike can attest, his wife Lisa was his heart and joy. There’s no denying the fact that he fought to stay alive just to be in her company.

He exemplified what it meant to be a good human. He was a beacon of strength and inspired all of us to be a better version of ourselves. He will be missed dearly.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to the EOD Warriors Foundation (www.eodwarriorfoundation.org).

Memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church.

— Submitted by the family of Mike Cordoza

Story First Published: 2019-11-08