Gregory Allen Aden, a longtime resident of Houston, New Braunfels and Lake McQueeney, passed away Friday, May 13, at the age of 80.
Born to Carl and Bobbie Aden of Del Norte, Colo., he was rechristened “Mike” by his older brother Gary, who did not like the name Gregory. The nickname stuck, and for the rest of his life everyone knew him as Mike. Five years later, younger sister Karla joined the family.
Mike graduated as valedictorian from Del Norte High School in 1960. As was necessary in a school with a graduating class of 33, he would play running back on the football field and then switch to tuba for the halftime performance. Though Mike was too small to play basketball against the "giants" of Leadville, he was a talented towel boy. Always the team player, Mike returned during his college summer breaks to join performances of the Del Norte High School marching band.
Outside of school, Mike drove his father’s Conoco truck, making fuel deliveries to area businesses, farmers, residents, and service stations, as well as running the Del Norte Conoco station on Grand Avenue. When they finished their work, Mike and his father would fish the waters of the Rio Grande, bringing their fresh-caught trout home for his mother to fry up for dinner.
Mike also played the piano, refining his 1000-song-fake-book chops at Fun Valley and in the barrooms of Creede with his trio. Later in life, he would entertain his family and friends on the piano, notorious for his rambunctious version of The Kingston Trio’s “MTA”, dubbed “The Running Song” by his grandchildren.
Mike attended the University of Colorado, later embarrassing anyone nearby with his enthusiastic air-marching-band performance of the CU fight song. He studied Economics, Accounting and Mathematics, receiving a BA and MA, and was a Ford Foundation Scholar. He was the president of his fraternity. Mike then enlisted in the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, where he became a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry.
A certified public accountant, Mike’s long professional career included stints with General Electric, Touche Ross, Del Lingco Business Brokers, Amicon Plastics, and several consulting businesses.
A natural entrepreneur with an unparalleled work ethic, Mike honed his business acumen over the years, laying the groundwork for his greatest business achievement — his ventures in the home health care sector. Mike and his wife Nora purchased Cameo Caregivers and grew the business from 13 clients and 25 caregivers to 125 clients and 200 caregivers.
Mike and Nora sold Cameo in 2004. After a few years of semi-retirement, all the while missing the excitement of entrepreneurship, Mike returned to the industry with their aptly named second company, Encore Caregivers.
Mike was extremely generous with his time and knowledge. Those seeking financial advice could count on lengthy pen-and-paper explanations of the benefits of home ownership or cost-benefit analysis of self-employment or important business decisions. Out-of-town visitors
could expect memorable hand-drawn maps, with somewhat cryptic annotations, to local tourist attractions. And although his proud driving tours of his neighborhoods might lack attention to the road, they never lacked hilarity.
Always a spiffy dresser, Mike’s idea of casual wear was a button-down shirt and slacks. He kept his Norelco under the front seat of his car so that he was always clean-shaven.
Mike’s greatest source of pride and joy was the family he built with his wife Nora, a family that consisted of five children and the 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren (with one more on the way), who knew him as Pepa. Mike’s happiest times were when the entire family was present for the holidays or summer. He thrived in what he called the “complete bedlam” of the scene. Mike spent hours and hours each year preparing the winter wonderland miniature village, with lights and trains that enchanted countless children during the holiday season.
Their children’s spouses, partners, and friends were always welcome into Mike and Nora’s home. This hospitality was also extended to Mike and Nora’s neighbors, resulting in lifelong friendships. Mike charmed his guests with his over-the-top generosity and sincere interest, bombarding new acquaintances with his genuine curiosity.
His curiosity extended beyond people. He was game to try just about anything at least once - whether it was cultural events, ziplining, or standing in the rowdy section at a soccer game.
Mike took many trips with his wife and family, including to China, Europe, Alaska, Costa Rica, and the Cayman Islands, as well as destinations around the United States with his grandchildren during the highly anticipated Camp Mimi summer sessions.
In addition to spending time with family and friends, Mike enjoyed fly fishing and evening boat rides with his wife and dog Ollie.
Mike is survived by his wife of 33 years, Nora Aden; his sister Karla Aden; his daughters Joy Aden Galaviz and Kerry Walker and sons Kelley Powell, Jarrod Aden, and John Aden; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law; nieces and nephews; and friends and business associates who will truly miss this generous, loving, interesting, and fun man.
Mike’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 4, 1 p.m., at McQueeney Baptist Church, 201 Schumann Rd., McQueeney, TX, 78123.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice in Mike’s name.