February 19, 1935 ~ September 8, 2021

Born in: Detroit, MI
Resided in: Flat Rock, NC

Michael J. Gorno passed away on September 8, 2021 at his home after an eighteen month struggle with pancreatic cancer. Mike was born in Detroit, MI in 1935 to Michael and Eileen Gorno. He started his career with White Star Trucking in Trenton, MI. In 1966 he moved with his wife and children to Holland, MI where he began a distinguished career with Holland Motor Express. He held a variety of roles with the company before being named Chief Executive in 1983. He was later promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of TNT North America. Under his leadership, Holland Motor experienced unprecedented growth and profitability, largely due to Mike’s unwavering commitment to providing exceptional customer service. Upon retirement, he split his time between the west coast of Florida and the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

He also served as President of the Tulip Time Festival, including the red-letter year of 1976 which received national publicity from its Tournament of Roses Parade float and the appearance of President Gerald R. Ford.

Mike will be remembered for his quick wit and dry sense of humor. He was an avid outdoorsman whose passions were flying, hunting and golf. After more than 50 years of flying, he was honored to receive the prestigious FAA Wright Brothers “Master Pilot Award.” He loved to hunt and fish and spent countless hours pursuing trophy animals throughout North America and trolling the waters of Lake Michigan for salmon, steelhead, and lake trout. He was particularly proud of his North American Grand Slam and his numerous African safari trophies. He was also a committed golfer who consistently shot his age into his 70s and 80s, each time shortly before he finished his round!

He was preceded in death by his son, Michael J Gorno III. He is survived by his wife Nancy Vass, former wife Patricia Gorno, children: Lisa Trombley (and son Chase), Kerri Gimbel (and children TJ, Kylie, Cooper), Steve (Peggy and son Michael), and David, along with sister Delores Howey, brother Ken (Barbara), and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hospice Angel Fund in Mike Gorno’s name at www.fourseasonsfdn.org or by check to Four Seasons Angel Fund 581 S. Allen, Flat Rock, NC 28731.

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family.

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Guestbook

  1. We loved your spirit. We loved your tenacity. We loved your adventurous and enthusiasm for life despite any obstacles. You were a man of integrity and a wonderful uncle as well as a great mentor.
    Thank you! 🥰

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  2. I’ve always looked up to you. We love you very much and will aspire to love life and love family the way that you did. Rest In Peace, Uncle Mike.🌹❤️

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  3. Rest In Peace, Uncle Mike, we love you and will aspire to live life and love family the way that you did. God bless you❤️🌹

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  4. Mike came into my life in 1986 when he hired me at Holland Motor. I can not overstate his positive impact on me. Highest integrity, firm, unflinching, bright and fair. A really good man and leader. I was blessed to learn from and work with Mike.

    My condolences to his loved ones and thanks Kerri for teaching me about accounts receivable.

    Reply
  5. Mike hired me at Holland Motor Express in 1983. At that time I had no idea that I was going to work for a great man. I quickly came to realize that Mike was one of the best people I would ever know. He was a brilliant leader. His character, integrity, kindness and humor were exceptional. He never compromised his principles. It was a privilege to know him and work with him. His entire team respected and loved him.

    Reply
  6. We are very fortunate to have met Mike and Nancy Gorno when they lived in Calusa Lakes. They were so gracious and welcoming, I know Mike will be missed by many people. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family.
    Tom and Mary Menozi

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  7. Nancy, So sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. He was such a nice man, always sporting a smile and positive attitude. Walter very much enjoyed playing golf with Mike. He was always so upbeat. We know he I’ll be missed. I am so glad you found each other again and were able to spend some happy years together.

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  8. We were neighbors when our families were young and growing up in Holland, MI. We have good memories. Our sympathies to his family.

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  9. As a former Holland Motor employee I had great respect for Mike. He was caring and took an interest in his employees. He was a man of integrity and it was a privilege to work for him.

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