In honor of Mike, our regular camper scholarship fund has been renamed to the Hryshkanych Scholarship Fund. There are many campers who want to come to camp, but can’t afford it, which was why the scholarship fund was originally set up. One of Mike’s biggest passions was to clear the way for kids to come to camp, and gifts given to this fund will continue to help make this happen.
Michael Allen Hryshkanych, age 67, went quietly to be with his Lord on January 24th, 2017 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer and years with pancreatitis. He was at home in Pembine with his wife, Ruth.
Mike was born July 12, 1949 to Emil and Lillian Hryshkanych in Red Bank, New Jersey. His childhood memories were of growing up in a loving home, playing for hours in the woods behind his home, camping with his family, and Little League with his dad. He had 3 sisters, Sue, Joanne, and Christine, who adored him – most of the time. He was preceded in death by his sister Christine and his father Emil. Family times included many aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends. He attended JP Stevens High School in Edison, a year at Virginia Tech, and received a Bachelor of Science in Forestry at the University of Florida Gainesville.
Mike was raised in a church-going family, but didn’t grasp what it meant to live according to the Word of God. His college years were during the hippie generation, but parts of that lifestyle left him lonely and depressed even as he dated frequently and was popular with the ladies. One gal he admired from afar, followed her to her dorm, and asked her out. She refused, because he did not know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He pursued her because her life was “different”. Trudie and her friends prayed for him for 3 years and on graduation she gave him a Bible. With graduation came the only lottery he ever won – Vietnam war draft number 12. He signed up for delayed entry to Fort Ord California. The night before he shipped out he called Trudie and asked her to come and pray with him to receive salvation through Jesus Christ.
A medical condition resulted in an honorary discharge and 5 weeks of processing him out during which he worked with 2 godly chaplains, putting in a chapel floor and stocking the tract rack. He returned to Florida, was baptized in an E Free Church, and then attended a Christian conference and an Institute of Biblical Studies in New York. Going home to his church, he was recruited to lead the youth group because he talked about Jesus. He was only a 6 month old Christian but his impact on the students was eternal. When he ran out of answers, he contacted the Ev Free pastor in Florida who recommended he attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield IL. That spring and summer he worked in maintenance and program at Camp Tecumseh, a Salvation Army camp.
Fully ready to commit his life to the Lord, he pictured a monastery experience at TEDS: brown robe, rope belt, and NO women. What a shock to drive onto campus and find women! He poured himself into his studies, joined a weekly fellowship group led by his roommate and future best man, Samir, led music for the group, and ministered through Young Life in the area. A deep friendship developed with Ruth Elaine Seashore, who also worked with Young Life and was part of the seminary fellowship group. He dated two women that season: Trudie, who had led him to the Lord, and then Jan whom he met at a retreat. Jan’s uncle was on the board of Lake Lundgren Bible Camp and, as Mike neared the end of his time at TEDS, he applied and was accepted as camp coordinator for a year.
Mike’s close friendship with Ruth developed into a relationship that led to a very clear direction from the Lord that he would be foolish not to marry his best friend. He responded instantly, seeking out a time to obey the Lord and ask her to marry him, never questioning what her answer would be after only 5 dates. Her answer was “yes” and they were married on April 12, 1975. After a Rocky Mountain honeymoon, they moved to camp and began what ended up being 40 years of ministry together there. His love for camp ministry had seeds in his love for God’s creation and a frequent quote was: “Lives are changed at camp because campers are Captivated by God’s creation, Concentrated on God’s Word, and Coached by God’s people.” All three were modeled in his own life.
Their son, Jason, was born in March of 1980 and daughter, Sarah, in August of 1982. Foster daughter Linda (husband James) moved in for a short time in high school when Jason was an infant, remaining a part of the family to this day. Jason was married to Heather in March of 2013 with Mike as his best man. His first grandchild, Jubilee was born in October of 2015 in time for Grandpa Mike to thoroughly enjoy her before his illness became severe. Jason’s family is in ministry with UW Sports in Colorado Springs and Sarah ministers at Trinity in Illinois where Mike and Ruth met.
Mike is also survived by his mother, Lillian, and his sisters, Sue and Joanne. He is dearly loved by everyone in his and Ruth’s families and many thousands more from his camp and church “family”. Many campers call him their second dad and many call him their best friend or mentor. “I wanna be like Mike” was a theme chosen for a T-shirt by a staff member in 1992 and expresses the sentiments of many who knew him because of the values he held dear: his love for the Lord and the Word of God, showing it to his wife, children, and others through compassion, integrity, wisdom, grace, and kindness, his humble servant attitude, and his consistent prayer life. He is deeply missed but is experiencing perfect health and fullness of joy in the presence of His Savior. All glory and praise go to God for all He did in and through Mike’s life.