SOQUEL, CA — Mr. Robert F. "Mike" Garrity, 76, who grew up in Topsfield, Mass., died peacefully at his home in Soquel, California on May 16, 2014. He was the son of the late James T. and Abbie M. (Doherty) Tirrell of Lynnfield, Mass.,
Mike excelled at football and baseball as a member of Topsfield High School, Class of 1955. After graduating, he continued to play baseball with the Topsfield Tories in the Intertown Twightlight League and football in the annual Thanksgiving Day Classic. In his late teens, Mike had a successful tryout with the Chicago White Sox and regretted not signing their minor league contract offer.
In the late 1950s, Mike was a signals intelligence specialist with the Army Security Agency with duty stations at Arlington Hall, Virginia and South Korea. After his discharge, he attended and graduated from the General Electric Apprentice Program, then worked at the GE River Works plant in Lynn.
In 1970, Mike moved to the San Francisco Bay area and graduated in 1973 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was reputed to be their oldest-ever undergraduate student. He went to work for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Sunnyvale, most notably, in the purchasing department for the Trident Missile Program. His years in California comprised an odyssey of moves up and down the coast, beginning in San Jose and ultimately settling in Soquel. As often as he could, Mike would fly back to Massachusetts to enjoy lobsters and fried clams with family and friends.
Over the years, Mike enjoyed golf immensely. He also honed his competitive skills at fishing deep-sea, rivers, and lakes, and at duplicate bridge. Mike was softhearted, empathetic and sentimental. His loved ones marveled at the care he took to select the right card for their special occasion that always included a graceful, warm, handwritten message.