Paloma, CA…Michael Kriletich was born in San Leandro, CA on February 10, 1953. He attended the seminary on Mt Diablo from age 14 to age 18. At 19 he met Diane Jenkins and 2 years later they were married. Together they formed a loving couple and tight team for over 41 years of marriage. Michael and Diane began their family along Wallace Creek, a remote canyon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After their two sons, Sean and Wade were born, the family moved to Jackson and then, in 1985, to Paloma.
Michael during the Butte Fire restoration
Michael’s social skills were nothing short of magic. He was not just easy to be around, but fun to boot. His words and manner made everyone feel at ease, whether you had only just met him or had known him for decades. After short stints in maintenance at Camanche and the Calaveras Co. Rd. Crew, Michael joined the team at the Amador Co. Sheriff’s office. Michael never slept much and chose to take the graveyards shifts so he could spend time with Diane and his boys. His late night jailhouse show, DJ Mike Motrin, was a welcome relief for the inmates. Moving to dispatch, he received numerous awards for his skill on the phone. Whether talking down would-be murderers by having their captors put them on the phone or walking people through successful CPR procedures, Michael was an MVP at the Amador Sherriff’s Office.
Michael became a Juvenile Probation officer in 1989 on the promise that he would attain his Bachelor’s degree. He received his degree in Business Administration just before his eldest son Sean graduated High School in 1997. Soon after he became Amador County’s Chief Probation Officer (CPO) and later served as CPO in Alpine and finally Calaveras County. During this period his humor and wisdom kick-started California’s probation and prison reform that continues to this day.
Michael’s first love and priority was always to his family. He loved all types of family time and did everything he could to make the most of it. He built a beautiful oasis at the family home in Paloma and was ultra supportive of the family beekeeping operation, Paloma Pollinators, even though he was allergic to honeybees. His efforts in the community were endless. He served as a fearless and untiring leader and director for the California Chief Probation Officer’s Assoc., the Resource Connection, MTSJ Hospital Dist., the Calaveras Co. Fair, CalaverasGROWN, the Mokelumne Hill Trust, the Paloma Community and many others. He was always there to lend a hand whether with his mental acumen or his strong physique.
Michael was a lover of all life and had a special connection with all forms of plants and animals. He loved hiking, backpacking and boating as well as caring for his pigs, chickens, garden, cats and dogs.
On August 27 at daybreak Michael’s magic energy received a higher calling in the form of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Just the day before he had been working on the family farm. His body drew its last breath at sunset on August 28 at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Sacramento. Michael is survived by his wife Diane, his sons Wade and Sean, and his siblings Mary Anne and Roy. His spirit will live forever in the hearts, minds and works of the people around the state and the world whom he inspired through his grace, humor and wisdom. Michael is an irreplaceable part of the fabric of our foothill community and his presence will be sorely missed.
All whom he touched are welcome to celebrate Michael’s life on Saturday, September 24, at the Mokelumne HIll Town Hall. Slideshow to begin at 4:30 pm followed by memorial services and dinner. Please share your memories of Michael’s extraordinary life by sending them in written form to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (209) 498-8081. Donations to continue his inspirational community work can be made to CalaverasGROWN.org in his name.