Our brave warrior went to his car show in the sky on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Surrounded by a loving family at home, he peacefully passed on to his next journey.
Mike’s life began in 1949 in Brooklyn, New York, and soon moved to North Bellmore on Long Island, where he had a mostly mischievous childhood.
To try to channel his energy in a positive way, he joined the Mepham High School wrestling team. A bit later in life he discovered running and competed in many road races including the New York Marathon in 1981 and the Orange Bowl Marathon in 1983.
The son of an artistic father and a theatrical mother, Mike always enjoyed working with his hands, especially when it came to designing and restoring vintage cars and trucks. He was a collector of many things including art pottery, antiques, and collectibles, finding it difficult to pass by a good flea market without stopping to see what he could buy.
His career in graphic arts began at the vocational print shop at Palm Beach High School in West Palm Beach, Florida. Upon graduation, he was employed by IBM in Boca Raton as a printer. A few years later, he moved on to work for Halsey & Griffith, Inc., an office supply store in West Palm Beach, as a service technician for printing presses and copiers. Mike ended up forming a company called Graphic Systems Services, Inc., in West Palm Beach with three other partners, selling and servicing all forms of graphic arts equipment. After moving to Virginia in 1998, Mike was employed by the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal as a graphic arts technician for the remainder of his working years.
Mike’s lively sense of humor and willingness to help anyone in need caught the attention of the love of his life, Melissa “Missie” Mathis, and they were joined together on Nov. 1, 1969 in West Palm Beach, where they resided and began their family life by having two beautiful daughters Andrea and Jennifer. After the daughters moved on with their lives, Mike and Missie relocated to the Northern Neck of Virginia choosing to settle in the Lancaster area.
His passion in life became apparent when he was introduced to his 1965 VW Beetle “Herbie” in the 1980s which he fully restored and took to car shows both in Florida and Virginia. About 10 years ago, the VW was joined by a 1952 Ford F-1 Rat Rod pickup truck which became known as “The Devil’s Mistress” in honor of his late uncle who served as a turret gunner during WWII. Both the VW and the Rat Rod became popular sights at events throughout the area, winning over many fans and garnering numerous awards.
Mike was predeceased by his father and mother, Marvin and Marilyn Arenson. He is survived by his devoted wife of 50 years, Melissa “Missie” Arenson, daughter Andrea Arenson Fenical and husband Lee Fenical, daughter Jennifer Arenson-Escorcia and husband Alexandre Escorcia, two grandchildren Tristan and Nina Arenson-Escorcia, brother Richard Arenson, sister Joy Evans and husband Glenn Evans, as well as a host of nephews, nieces, and other relatives.
He would not want any of his family or friends to mourn his passing, but simply to celebrate his life at an event which will occur at some point in the near future.
Memorial contributions are encouraged to be made to Hospice of Virginia.