BADGE 1823, ID 3065
SDPD 04/14/1980 - 1986
1104/1952 - 11/15/2009
Longtime Napa resident Michael McWilliams, 57, passed away Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, at his home.

Michael was born in San Diego and his love for the city permeated the entirety of his life. Michael spent his childhood traveling the world with his mother, younger brother and sister, and step-father who was in the Navy, before moving to Napa. Michael attended Redwood Middle School and Napa High.

At 18 Michael removed himself from high school and enrolled at Napa Valley College. Michael was then struck by the drive to serve his country in wartime and enlisted with the U.S. Navy; he boarded the USS Monticello with only a few dollars in his pocket. Michael rose through the ranks to become a petty officer 2nd class and a member of the Brown Water Navy in Special Boat Unit 11 as a "River Rat."

Michael continued his service as a Reservist while obtaining a bachelor's degree in political science from Sonoma State, courting future wife Roxanne, and working two other jobs. After graduating, Michael returned to San Diego newly married to attend the police academy and began his career with the San Diego Police Department. He served honorably for 10 years alongside beloved friend and partner Reserve Officer Tom "T.A." Lewis.

Upon the news that Roxanne was expecting their first child, Michael moved to Napa and took a job with the San Anselmo Police Department. Michael often bragged that during this time he worked for both departments, commuting from Northern to Southern California while deciding which department to work for. In 1986, Michael decided that the impending birth of his daughter meant leaving behind the excitement of a metropolitan police department in favor of a job closer to home. He served for nearly 10 years in Marin County and during that time was both a field training officer and president of the Peace Officers' Association.

Michael was a man who stood behind all he believed in, and what he believed in was the pride of the military. An American flag always flew high outside his home. He is the eternal patriot. He was a dedicated member of the VFW, Marin County Navy League, Elks Club, and a lifetime member of the Naval Institute. He had a passion for all things Navy and an unparalleled love for his two daughters, Rachel, 22, and Rebecca, 21. He took his girls to fleet weeks in San Francisco, aboard countless ships, and to Navy functions from the time they were only weeks old up until the last month of his life.

The residents of Napa knew Michael as the man who cruised down Jefferson in his Mustang convertible wearing one of many Navy hats, driving gloves, police aviators and blasting Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Monkees and the Beach Boys. His family and friends will forever hold Michael in their hearts and remember him for his eternal inner child, always eager to tell stories of his history as a peace officer, of ships and of his grandfather, "Grandpere" deFere. His sense of humor will continue to bring smiles to their faces.

During the last years of his life Michael exhibited an unparalleled capacity for love, understanding and forgiveness. A cause especially close to Michael's heart is the Battleship Iowa.

Committal at sea will be private and at a later date with military honors provided by the United States Navy at San Diego
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