UT Martin Sigma Phi Epsilon alumnus Michael Rees (2000) died Tuesday afternoon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Rees was 43.
He is survived by two children, Zack and Mallory.
Mike graduated from UT Martin with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He joined Sigma Phi Epsilon in January of 1997. Mike is an organ donor, and doctors have told family members that as many as eight others will live because of that decision.
As Mike passes to the Chapter Eternal, we recall the words of the Book of Matthew:
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
The chapter asks that you keep Mike’s family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. Arrangements for his funeral will be announced at a later time.
Alumni remember Brother Mike Rees
Mike was one of the most passionate people I’ve known. He put everything into anything he did, or was involved in. As fraternity brother, as friend, as a person he never held back. I pray that in his loss of life, in turn gives others the opportunity to live.
I’ve tried to think of story. I’ve tried to narrow one down that’s just perfect. But there is no one story. Mike and I worked at Sonic, along with several brothers, we lived together, we played volleyball, we shot pool. And we played golf. We use to go out to Doe Valley with a few other brothers. And I remember both of us running out of golf balls. So being poor college kids, we decided to go back and get some golf balls out the pond. So we go down in the dark, run across the course and proceed to jump in this nasty pond. Couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces. But by the time we left, we had over a hundred golf balls and a rusty club. It was a good memory and a good time.
— Gabe Peer (1998)
There are people in life that are friends, and then there are people that are true friends. Those people that you can call anytime, day or night, and they’ll be there as quick as they can. Mike Rees was a true friend. If you were fortunate enough to have him as a friend, he didn’t simply like you. He loved you. He was always there with a kind word, a big smile and an even bigger hug. Even when he was down, he looked to always try to raise others up. Mike Rees was the best kind of person. He will be truly missed here on earth, but I really look forward to that big ole hug I’m going to get when I get to Heaven. Rest easy my brother. I love you!
— Kevin Finn (1999)
Without a doubt, Mike was one of the great men of the chapter. He was always up for a challenge and always willing to take the jobs that others avoided. He had a huge heart and a great smile. It’s no surprise that his heart will continue to love others for many years to come. Prayers for you and yours Brother.
– Jay Michael Trussler (1997)
Rees was a great brother always willing to lend a hand and help others.
— Jay Gibson (2001)
For alumni coming back, I remember Mike being quick to come up and introduce himself, and would serve as a host, taking alumni around and introducing them to the undergrads. Very personable guy.
— James Wagner (1995)
He was always willing to help anyone with anything, not sure he ever met a stranger.
— Tim Taylor (2002)
Above all things, Mike was a friend. He would talk, listen, help, or whatever else you needed. He was there when we needed him. Whether that was holding a rope in a hole, holding a person in a pyramid & building a float to all hours of the night. Even now at his end, he’s being a friend for unknown persons to continue their adventures.
— Jarrett Cox (1999)
Mike has a heart of gold, and I am thankful for the impact he has made on my life personally. It is only fitting that his last act on Earth is to give of himself to others. I find comfort knowing the big smile and hug Ralston will be greeting him with. Go rest high on that mountain, Rees.
— Dave Anderson (1999)
Michael William Douglas Rees was a great human being. His kindness, passion, authenticity, sensitivity & zest for life are uncommon. He loved large, lived hard, yearned immensely for something more in life for all & gave of himself greatly. His life was not easy nor dull. Everyone he touched was made better for their engagement with his spirit. You will be loved forever my dear brother.
— Jason Bradley (1998)
I remember him pulling with everything he had in 98 [Rope Pull]. He gave it all as a nine-hole. A good man, friend and brother. Will be missed.
— Jarrod Rhodes (1999)