Dr. Michael P. Equi, Jr., a husband, dad, dentist, working man, analytical thinker and determined helper who spent his life trying to elevate the self-esteem of the people around him, died August 13 during a brief stay in the hospital.
Throughout his lifetime, Mike battled Friedreich's ataxia, a rare, progressive degenerative movement disorder that ultimately robbed him of his mobility and his primary career, but never sapped his good humor, intellectual curiosity or faith. He was a model of optimism in the face of what most people would consider challenge and adversity.
Born and raised in Holyoke, MA, Mike was 17 when he met Martha Ann Burke on the tennis courts at Crosier Field. They became debate-squad teammates and the back-and-forth chatter and thoughtful conversation never ended. The high school sweethearts married seven years after that first meeting, paramours for life.
Michael learned the benefits of hard work and the importance of doing things right early, as a child working in the family's general store and a young man working at the Spalding baseball factory, but it followed him through Boston College into dentistry school at Columbia University -- where he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree - and during his Navy service in the early 1970s.
The couple settled in Cohasset, where they spent years involved in the community and working with various organizations; Mike's favorites were the Jaycees and the local Rotary Club. Mike opened a dental practice in 1973, which he ran until 2006, when the effects of ataxia forced an early retirement.
Mike's passion for his kids and grandchildren, opera, movies, medical research and his beloved Red Sox never waned, nor did his desire to reach others. Beyond simply sharing his knowledge with those he believed it could help, Mike lived the very mission he included in a quote from an early resume: "Elevate the self-esteem of ALL those around you, ALL the time."
Michael is survived by his children: Michael Equi and Hye Ok Kwon, Meredith Doyle, Mark and Danielle Equi, and Maureen and Christian Conroy, as well as by grandchildren Grace, Elizabeth, Olivia, Beatrice and Harrison.
He was predeceased by his beloved Martha, and by his parents, Michael Peter Equi and Mary Elizabeth (Farrell) Equi of Holyoke, MA.
Flowers would have been wasted on Michael - they were Martha's thing - but he would have appreciated people learning about ataxia, and supporting research to help others facing it. The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance allows you to pursue both missions; visit curefa.org
Visiting Hours with the Equi family were held on Thursday, August 19 at McNamara-Sparrell Funeral Home, 1 Summer St. in COHASSET. Funeral Services were held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on Friday, August 20, with interment alongside Martha at Woodside Cemetery in Cohasset.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Michael P. Equi, Jr., please visit our floral store.