Mike Love

Michael Love

MOULTONBOROUGH ; Michael Love, 61, a renowned chef and well-known Carroll County resident, passed away June 11 in Florida from complications of a stroke he suffered in late April in Panama where he and his wife, Donna, had just retired to.

Michael, who owned Lemongrass, a Thai-themed gourmet restaurant in Moultonborough and formerly owned the Sweetwater Inn, also in Moultonborough, and Love’s Quay, Wolfeboro, has passed on to be the “executive chef” for all of those who have gone before him, his wife, Donna, said. “He’s left this physical world but I’m sure he’s cooking for all his friends right now.”

Born in Hackensack, N.J., Michael lived in Chapel Hill, Middletown, N.J., before moving to New Hampshire to attend college. He returned to New Jersey where he owned the Oceanfront Bar in Sea Bright and Mike and Jay’s, Red Bank.

But his love for New Hampshire soon brought him back, where he established himself as a local fixture.

Known for his “pay it forward” approach to life, Michael requested his friends celebrate his life rather than grieve. He often said life is defined by what you do for other people, not yourself, and for the appreciation of the moment, his wife said. He had a deep affection for entertaining children with magic tricks and always helping out those in need. He expected nothing back but respect.

“Mike would only want joy, fireworks and lots of celebration. No tears. He would hate that. Just laughter, food, noise and lots of sharing,” Donna said.

Those who knew Mike have left many remembrances on caringbridge.org/visit/michaellove, a website dedicated to keeping loved ones in contact. As Mike would have wanted, the family would like to share a few of those sentiments. Please see that site for additional details.

“Mike was at first, a decent human being who offered himself and his time, and did many things for many people. He never expected anything in return for his efforts but respect from others. Memories will keep his soul alive,” wrote Russell Wakefield, Moultonborough.

“Someone so special can never be forgotten,” added Isabelle Dupuis of Ossipee.

“A spirit so strong will stay with all of us forever, and can still get the peace he so deserves,” said Hank and Heather Letarte of Tamworth.

“The love that was Michael Love is an energy that will remain with us, propel some to do great things because they knew him, because he cared, because he shared so much of himself. He truly made a great difference. He has left this world with all of us knowing that he made the world a better place,” wrote Liz and Greg McCarthy of Gilford.

“Michael’s life is an inspiration and you are all a testament to that. I feel so fortunate to have known him and his spirit is forever present in us all,” contributed Nancy Love, Atlantic Beach, Fla.

“Mike has touched so many lives, being a kind and generous friend, a mentor to all those that worked for him and a legend in the restaurant business for all time,” said Bob and Lyn Seley of Meredith, former owner of The Woodshed restaurant, Moultonborough.

“I will always carry the memories of how it felt to be around you; you make everyone feel important, special, and so alive. That’s how we’ll carry on ; knowing that you’re heart is in so many of us,” said Elaine Meyer, Ossipee.

“I love you, Brother. You believed in me when I was a kid, when I did not believe in myself. You have taught me what unthinking kindness means, and how to be unafraid and alive and true. I will carry these things for the rest of my days. And in carrying them I will carry you. I promise,” wrote Steve Clark, Anacortes, Washington.

“It goes without saying that we are all better people for knowing Michael,” said Karyn and Allan Saunders, Toronto, Canada.<B>

“I will hear Michael when the New Hampshire pines whisper, when a child giggles watching magic tricks, when the lake laps and when there is a gathering of friends eating great food, drinking fine wines and most importantly, laughing,” said Jody Calendar, Tinton Falls, N.J., and Moultonborough.

“I have seen him raise two children, worship a wife and always reach into his pocket for friend or stranger,” wrote Tim Wilson, Seattle, Washington.

“We are certain that he will continue to be of service where ever he may go,” said Pat Brewitt, Wolfeboro.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded,” Susan and Bob Mainbeger of Middletown Township, N.J., quoted from a poem.

Michael is survived by his loving wife, Donna; two children, Sarah of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Stephen of Santa Barbara, Calif.; a sister, Pat of Flagler, Fla., and thousands of friends and family all over the world.

To honor that request, a “Celebration of Life” party will be held at 6 p.m., July 12, at the home of Carl and Jody Calendar, 5 Ferry Road, Moultonborough. A fireworks display at 9 p.m. will conclude the celebration. Rain date is July 13.

In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to the Paradise Gardens Animal Rescue in Panama, where Mike and Donna volunteered. An account is being set up in the rescue’s name c/o Get Mike Home and Well, Meredith Village Savings Bank, P.O. Box 177, Meredith, 03253.

The New Life Funeral Home, Ormond Beach, Fla., is in charge of arrangements.

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