On June 24, 2013, the great beyond gained a true original. James Elwood Uffelman, better known as “Mike”, was born on May 18, 1939. He spent his early years tearing up the town of Windsor, graduated from Red Lion High School, and then shipped out with the Navy on the USS Essex. The tall tales from the Navy are so infamous it’s easy to see why Mike was neither an officer, nor a gentleman. However, the US military did survive Mike’s four years of service, and rumor has it they even retired his uniform. Not knowing what he wanted to do when he grew up, Mike held a variety of jobs including selling insurance and cars, but he is best known as the jovial bus driver from the Red Lion Bus Company who literally drove thousands of folks from the area to various destinations around the country. One of Mike’s favorite trips was to New York City, and if you were fortunate enough to be a passenger on one of his trips, you know that he may have been small in stature, but he could park that big ol’ bus on a dime. Mike also enjoyed telling a great joke and making people laugh. Red Lion is definitely a whole lot quieter now without his signature laugh.
Believe it or not, this wild man actually served his community in a variety of ways. He was a member of the Red Lion Elks almost as soon as he was old enough to join, holding the position of Exalted Ruler twice. He was also a 32nd degree mason, and for many years Mike drove ambulance for the Red Lion Ambulance Club. In his spare time, Mike enjoyed hunting and always looked forward to his annual hunting trip to the Sure Shot Gun Club in Potter County.
Mike is survived by his wife Sandy, who deserves her own medal of honor for sticking it out for over 50 years of marriage. He is also survived by: a daughter, Debra Church, son in law Jeffrey Church, two grandchildren, Conner and Ryan Church of Wilmington, NC; brother and sister in law Fred and Lynn Uffelman of York; brother and sister in law Bill and Ruth Uffelman of Hershey; a variety of nieces and nephews; and inlaws George and Geraldine Heininger Sr. and George Heininger Jr. of York.
The family would like to thank all physicians, nurses and health care providers at York Hospital and Colonial Manor Nursing Home for taking such amazing care of Mike these past six months despite the colorful language you would often hear from his sailor’s mouth. To all of the angels at Heartland Hospice, you have made this journey much less painful and you have given dignity to even the most cantankerous of patients.
One thing is for certain, if Mike is in heaven, he is up there raising hell. If you knew the man, the legend, you know exactly what that statement means! In lieu of flowers, tell your best dirty joke to a group of friends, look up to the heavens, and say, “this one’s for you Mike”. That rumble you hear from the sky will be his big booming laugh in appreciation!
Olewiler & Heffner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and services will be private.