Mike Niklas '75
Mike grew up in Cincinnati and learned about Saint Francis Seminary during a visit while in 8th grade. He was a seminary barber for awhile and later became a photographer for the Brown and White. Mike enjoyed sports and the camaraderie at the seminary, but he especially looked forward to music activities. Fr Aubert, OFM took Mike under his wing, taught him to play bass fiddle, and entrusted him to accompany the glee club and soloists on piano and guitar. In the fall of 1972, Mike was a founding member of the short-lived seminary band "Jailbreak" along with Joe Sears '75, Kenny Thompson '75, Joe Kurtz '75, and Warren Hebert '75. The group won the Picnic Day talent show the next spring. Later, Mike teamed with Joe Sears and Roy Brannan to win the 1975 Picnic Day talent show. Although frequently late to class, Mike was a good student and considers himself fortunate to have brilliant teachers like Fr. Murray Bodo,OFM and Fr. Aldric Heidlage, OFM.
After high school, Mark Kling '75, Roy Brannan '75, Paul Landers '76 and Mike took SFS teacher Harry Shaefer's advice and attended Thomas More College in Kentucky. Mike started out in accounting, then switched to a math major. Roy and Mike played music and sang at a lot of parties during college. They even made a record of a couple of songs they wrote.
Mike met his future wife, Mary, at college. They married after graduation. Mary became a high school teacher and Mike worked at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.
Because of Mike's work with the Air Force, he was fortunate to take trips to Hawaii, Egypt, Israel, Greece, France, Colombia, and Argentina. Israel was the best: he walked the way of the cross, visited the Mount of Olives, and went inside Jesus' tomb. He tried to climb the pyramids in Egypt and rode a horse in the Sahara Desert. All of this came about because the Air Force was hiring co-op students during his junior year in college. He's been at the same office (which is more like family) at Wright-Patterson AFB for more than 20 years. Along the way he picked up a master's degree in Operations Research from the University of Dayton.
Mike moonlighted and ran his own recording studio for a few years in the '80s. One success story was a bluegrass band "Dry Branch Fire Squad." They made 4 albums and 2 CDs at Mike's studio. One of the CD's was in the top 10 for a Grammy in 1989. He also recorded albums of bluegrass festivals in New York near Woodstock. The recording studio has been upgraded to digital, but it's mostly a hobby now. Mike is the director of a choir at St. Patrick Church in Troy, Ohio, for which he has composed music for many psalms and special occasions.
Mary and Mike live on a small farm east of Troy, Ohio with 2 daughters and various four-legged creatures. Lisa is a recent graduate of Colorado Art Institute, with a degree in computer animation. Sheila is attending Edison College, majoring in accounting. Mary teaches high school business classes and enjoys recreational sports.
Mike serves on the board of the Franciscan Alumni Association, maintains the alumni website, and is editor of the newsletter.