Michael Norman Challis “Mike”, born January 8th 1956, of Front Royal VA, passed away in his home on November 11th, 2020. Preceded in death by his mother Isabel and father Norman, Mike is survived by his beloved wife of 39 years, Eva Challis; daughter Jessica Challis and grandchildren Breanna, Jasmine, Ivey; son Mason Challis; brother Jimmy Challis (wife Sue Challis) and nephew Shad; sister Jennie Challis; niece Regina Butler (husband Greg Butler) and great nephew Nick; nephew Jason Casteneda and great niece Isabel; nephew Ian Casteneda (wife Brandi Casteneda) great nieces Aubrie & Madison, and great nephew Darian; nephew John Gillespie (wife Jen Gillespie) and great nephew Ronan, who made his long anticipated entrance into this world the same day Mike prematurely departed us, exemplifying rebirth in the extraordinary, yet mystifying, circle of life.
Mike was born in DC and grew up in Maryland. In 1978, while living in an apartment complex in Laurel, he laid eyes on his beautiful future wife as she was washing her cherished 1968 Camaro. Being the nice guy we all know and love, he offered her some assistance and the rest is history. They were married on Valentine’s Day of 1981 where the two had moved to Front Royal, Virginia, where Mike started a successful flooring business, Challis Installations, and they purchased a tiny cabin and plot of land on the river. Skilled with his hands, Mike transformed this tiny cabin into a beautiful two story home, bursting with personal touches and a personality all its own. He cleared the riverfront field and cliff of brush, and constructed a dock and river house, creating a homestead which would become the birthplace of many cherished family memories.
In July of 1985, Mike’s wife, Eva, gave birth to a baby girl, Jessica, and from that day forward, he was the ultimate family man. In January of 1990, their son Mason was born and their family was complete. Even as a successful and busy small business owner, Mike was a devoted father and husband. He always made time for fun and could never say no to one more ride in the boat or a few more minutes by the fire. In the summers, you could find him with his family and friends in a boat gliding on the river, fly fishing in the stream by his fathers cabin in Maryland, riding his motorcycle, or cruising in that sweet ’68 Camaro with the love of his life. In the winters, Mike still preferred the solid form of water and could be found gliding down a mountain on a pair of snow skis.
Mike was a genuine soul with an eclectic sense of humor. His quirky laugh and charismatic smile never failed to fill the room with positive joyous energy. He was extremely talented and hard working, and took pride in that work. He was honest and fair and the kind of friend you always wanted around. Mike was a force of nature, determined to provide for his family and give them the life he felt they deserved. His family meant more to him than anything else in the world, and he loved them fiercely. His charisma and authenticity were undeniable and refreshing. For these reasons, and so many more, Mike will be so deeply missed by all who were blessed to know him.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday December 5th at 2pm on Mary’s Shady Ln. Front Royal, Va 22630. Should you wish to bless the family with flowers, in lieu of cut floral arrangements, please consider a potted arrangement that will carry on Mike’s love of nature for years to come.