By Tonya Fennell
Mike Landgraf was a big man with an even bigger heart.
Landgraf died Wednesday in Clovis. He was 63.
His family and friends remember him as a stern but fair man who was extremely generous. And that philanthropic spirit was most evident in the large sums of money Landgraf donated to the United Way.
According to United Way of Eastern New Mexico Executive Director Erinn Burch, Landgraf would call every year to ask if the nonprofit organization had met its’ annual goal.
“He was generous,” Burch said. “He was our guardian angel.”
In December 2004, Landgraf received a special United Way award for his donation of more than $10,000. “I believe he just wanted to give back because he believed in doing good and giving back to the community,” Burch said. “He appreciated Clovis and the community.”
The father of three and grandfather of four was born April 20, 1944 in Tyler, Texas. He worked as a shoe salesman before entering into the commercial contracting field. He moved to Clovis in 1987, and five years later, established LCI 2 Inc., a commercial contracting business.
“I think he wanted to be his own boss,” Shannon Landgraf said of her father’s decision to open the business.
Her dad was also in charge at home, Shannon Landgraf said.
“He was a tough dad,” she said, “but he had a heart of gold.” Shannon Landgraf described her father as a caretaker who liked to feel needed. “He found a sense of security in taking care of people,” she said.
Longtime LCI 2 Inc. employee Jorby Lee said he considered his boss a personal friend. “He (Mike Landgraf) called me his illegitimate step-child,” Lee said.
Although Landgraf often used humor with his employees, he was known for being a strict boss. “He wanted it done right,” Lee said. “He believed in quality, not quantity.”
Most of all, Landgraf’s longtime employees said their boss made them feel valued.
“He was a heck of a guy and a heck of a boss,” LCI 2 Inc. employee Randy Bryant said. “He treated people with respect and made people feel good when they walked through his door.
Landgraf became ill Wednesday and died later that day at Plains Regional Medical Center, friends and family members. Family members and friends said the cause of his death is unknown.
Services are at 10 a.m. Saturday at Trinity United Methodist Church.
In Tribute is a regular feature. To suggest an honoree, contact CNJ Managing Editor Rick White at 763-6991 or by e-mail: email@example.com