Paul Michael (Mike) Dreher, of Niles
Nov. 29, 1934 — Feb. 20, 2016
Paul Michael (Mike) Dreher, former owner and chairman of Modineer Company passed away on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Sarasota, Florida after an extended illness.
Mike was born to Paul and Dorothy Keller Dreher on Nov. 29, 1934, in Niles, Michigan. He lived his entire life in Niles and the surrounding area of Cassopolis.
Modineer Company was started by Mike’s father, Paul, after moving from South Bend, Indiana to US 31 in Niles, Michigan. Mike used to say he could tell you a story about every block laid on the US 31 building. He liked to brag saying Modineer was the only job he ever had. In 1973 after Mike’s parents retired, Mike and his wife Shirley, purchased Modineer Company from them. Mike, “Big Mike” as he was known to his friends, extended the building on US 31 and the growth of Modineer to the Industrial Park in Niles. Modineer Company continued to grow. When asked about the company’s growth Big Mike would say, “I didn’t do it. It was the Modineer employees who made Modineer grow.” Big Mike gave thanks to the many employees who worked at Modineer over the years. In 2000, Mike and Shirley Dreher retired to Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Michigan and to Venice, Florida. Mike sold Modineer Company to his three children; Michael Dreher, Patricia and her husband, Doug Wyland, and Gary Dreher. Together they continue to own and operate the family business to this day. Mike’s greatest pride was; there have been four generations of the Dreher family working at Modineer, starting with Paul, to Mike, to Mike’s three children to several of Mike’s grandchildren.
Mike was a 1953 graduate of Niles High School. On Nov. 24, 1956, in Niles, Mike married Shirley Saratore. They lived in Niles and raised their three children.
Mike is survived by his wife, Shirley, their three children; Michael (Stefany (Forest)) Dreher, Patricia (Douglas) Wyland, and Gary (Diane (Curtis)) Dreher. The highlight of Mike’s life was ‘The Magnificent Seven,’ his grandchildren, as he lovingly referred to them. They are; Dallas Dreher, Benjamin (Jessica (Rai)) Dreher, Sarah (Jon) Workman, Caleda Wyland, Paul Dreher, Ryan Wyland, and Dominick Wyland. A new generation was started with the birth of Mike’s great-grandson, Eddie Dreher Workman. The family is looking forward to another great-grandson in March. Mike is also survived by his sister, Marcia Dreher Brubaker and many nieces and nephews. Mike and Shirley would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Nov. 24, 2016.
Mike was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Niles, Niles-Buchanan YMCA, Niles Elks Club, Orchard Hills Country Club and Venice Golf and Country Club.
After retirement, “Big Mike” decided to become a farmer. He bought tractors to restore. Later he built a ‘barn’ to hold his wood workshop. He enjoyed wood working in the summer making wood products for his girls and wooden toys for his great-grandsons.
Funeral services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Niles on Friday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. with Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence of the church officiating, assisted by Rev. Dr. Ron Wakeman of the First Presbyterian Church in Irwin, Pennsylvania. The final resting place will be at Silverbrook Cemetery. Visitation will be held at Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
The family has requested memorial donations be made to: Mike and Shirley Dreher Scholarship Fund at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac or to the Niles-Buchanan YMCA to support the Youth Teen Center Initiative, 905 North Front Street, Niles, Michigan 49120.