MICHAEL JAMES CRISS – Beloved husband of Katharine Pearson Criss passed away May 14, 2021.
Mike was born in Eureka, Kansas on May 26, 1944, and grew up in Maryville where he attended high school. He graduated from Tennessee Military Institute in 1963. He entered the US Air Force and served at Elmendorf Air Force base in Alaska. He was honorably discharged in August of 1967 and returned to Knoxville via a cross country motorcycle trip. He then established a metalworking and sculpture studio in the campus area well known as “The Alley Mines”.
He received a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Tennessee majoring in fine arts in 1978.
Mike was an avid outdoorsman who loved boating and playing with his puppies on the Holston River in Holston Hills. His favorite Sunday afternoons were spent with Katharine, his dogs Mate and Kali, and friends motoring to Calhouns on the River for ribs or picnicking on the river and watching the birds. He maintained a number of birdhouses and delighted in feeding and watching the hummingbirds, bluebirds and other species.
Mike was also an excellent cook, and loved to share his talents with friends over a glass of wine. Margarita Fridays and bang/bang shrimp topped the list.
A well-known artist whose work can be seen in homes from Knoxville to California, he worked in metal for most of his career and turned to painting in the last decade. He also enjoyed collaborating with other local artists and encouraging young artists – especially his step-granddaughter Radha Pearson with whom he was painting the seasons.
Mike loved his church, St. James Episcopal, and was an active member until his health declined. He was a quiet, gentle man with a warm laugh, and always had
a helping hand for others.
Preceded in death by his parents Norma Dame and Hubert Oscar Criss and brother Steve, Mike leaves his beloved wife Katharine, his sister Carole Criss Allen, stepson Rand Pearson and wife Sapna and daughter Radha, along with niece Carin Darden (Deanna) and nephew Scott (Laura) and John (Cindy) Criss and their families.
A special thanks is given to the nurses of the 4th and 5th floors of Ft. Sanders’ MCU.
A celebration of Mike’s life will be held on June 4, 2021, at 3:00pm, at St. James Episcopal Church, 1101 North Broadway, Knoxville, TN, 37917. The family will receive friends in the courtyard at 2:30 pm prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. James or to the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, 6717 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.
Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Criss family and invites you to view and sign the online registry at www.gentrygriffey.com.Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Criss family and invites you to view and sign the online obituary.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Michael James Criss, please visit our floral store.