OLD ORCHARD BEACH – On October 9, 1973, a bright light and an adventurous spirit was born. Michael Scott Palanza was full of life, had the greatest sense of humor and a quick wit. He was on the move from the moment he learned to crawl.
Michael’s mother, Pam Butler, married Wayne Wilson and they moved to Old Orchard Beach where Michael ran indoor and outdoor track and played soccer along with his brothers Adam and Matthew Wilson and his cousin Carlton Pratt and won the state championship gold ball. During football season, Michael’s parents hosted a game day breakfast for the team. His 3-year-old sister was always in full uniform, cheering on her brothers from the sidelines.
Wayne was Michael’s father in every way, ready to listen and offer helpful advice when needed, which Michael fully accepted.
Michael has always been a gifted artist; As an eighth grader at Saco Middle School, he designed the eagle’s head engraved on the Veteran’s Monument in Laurel Hill Cemetery.
After graduating from Old Orchard Beach High School and Plymouth State College in New Hampshire, Michael began his distinguished, lifelong career as a graphic designer and creative director. He worked for WCJ in New York before moving to Maryland where he continued in that role at HZDG, working on campaigns for companies such as Volkswagen and The Washington Capitals. HZDG was acquired by Burson Cohn & Wolfe, an international PR and communications firm headquartered in NYC, where Michael stayed as creative director, working from home during the COVID pandemic and taking on the role of helping his children homeschool.
He enjoyed many trips across the country for work and pleasure; however, no location has ever been measured with Maine. He was proud of his small town roots where he was loved and supported by his parents and surrounded by many friends, his two brothers, younger sister and extended family. He particularly enjoyed having the sea and mountains nearby. He loved surfing, saving lives and working alongside his Scarborough uncle John Butler on his lobster boat.
Michael enjoyed hiking and skiing in the mountains of Maine and Colorado. Family ski trips to his Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Blaine on Sugar Loaf were fun for everyone. Ever the athlete, he continued to exercise daily, bike and run marathons for charity.
An experienced guitarist, Michael recorded two CDs and played in a band.
Spending the vacations in Maine brought with it some of his fondest memories, along with a special Thanksgiving in Maryland with Elizabeth, his parents, his grandma, his aunt, his uncle, his cousins, his cousin-in-law, his sister Rosebeth, his son Alec, and four dogs. It was a house full and room for more.
Michael visited Maine in August of that year. The family gathered at the True home in Saco with his sister, Aunt Karen, Uncle Tim and his cousins to whom he was very close Ryan True from Scarborough, Krystin True from Saco and Laurie Webber from Biddeford, there were lots of hugs, Laughter and shared memories.
Michael had a special bond with his grandparents; Nana, Bubba, Gram and Pa who predeceased him.
Michael leaves behind his children Alec, Arden, Finley and Mila Palanza. His sister Rosebeth Wilson and his two brothers Adam and Matthew Wilson. He would say his mother and father, Pam, and Wayne Wilson of Old Orchard Beach were his rock. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.
The family would like to thank Elizabeth Piazza of Albuquerque, New Mexico for her exceptional kindness and support during this time. She and Michael shared many adventures as a young couple and will forever have a special bond.
On his birthday, October 9, 2022, Michael unexpectedly suffered a heart attack, leaving a void in the lives of many that can never be filled.
A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, November 13 at 2:00 p.m. Messiah Christian Church, US Route 1, Wells, Maine.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the michaelgouletfoundation.org, whose mission to provide helmets to prevent traumatic brain injuries is close to his family’s hearts, and their logo is one of Michael’s unique designs.
Up to date: Vote on Election Day, November 8th