Last call always comes too early on a Saturday night, and it did for sure on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Surrounded by those that loved him most, and at home, the world lost a great cook, master coquito maker, instant friend to all he met, loving dad, and amazing grandpa, Mike Bayala.
Miguel Angel Bayala was born February 7, 1943, in Trujo Alto, Puerto Rico. He started life early with what would become one of so many unbelievable stories as he raised and sold hogs as a young teenager to finance his airfare to New York City where he joined his parents and older siblings in the Bronx. Mike’s work ethic was second-to-none and he played as hard as he worked. Still a teenager in NYC, Mike found work in textile mills filled with workers from France and Italy. Mike worked as a Yellow Cab taxi driver and house mover.
The 1970s saw Mike trade in his taxi medallion for a CDL as he hit the open road as a trucker for Allied Van Lines. Soon, trips through Montana were on his docket and as he racked up the interstate miles, he was winding down his relations back in New York City. Daughter, Michelle and son, Travis were born in the early 1980s as Mike left Allied, took a home-every-night job with Pacific Steel, and enrolled in night school at the University of Great Falls. He never waivered in his commitment to work hard, play hard, and love his kids.
A trucking accident prompted Mike to find a different line of work and his true calling. Purchasing the Club Tavern in Dutton in 1987 proved to be Mike’s passion and the perfect marriage of his work ethic and ability to create a good time for all. Making a life in Montana was in Mike’s blood and he never tired of explaining how he ended up as the only Puerto Rican in Dutton.
Mike embodied fun and there wasn’t a story, situation, or experience that didn’t end with a good laugh, cold beer, or a custom invented solution. Mike lived a life few could imagine and his nearly 40 years in Dutton was the capstone to a life well-lived. To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.