Cover photo for Michael F. Nolan's Obituary
Michael F. Nolan Profile Photo

Michael F. Nolan

d. July 29, 2022

Michael F. Nolan, retired academic from University of Missouri and resident of Cobble Creek in Montrose, CO died on July 29, 2022 after a hard fought battle of cancer at the age of 78 in the care of HopeWest of Montrose at his residence.  Michael had a large blended family that he loved, supported, and led through many triumphs and tribulations including his wife, Paula Nolan (Miller); his son, Chris Nolan (Jenny Nolan); his two step-sons, Ryan Thrush (Barbara Thrush) and Evan Thrush (Jen Langfield-Thrush); 8 grandchildren (Cole Grett, Payton Grett, Camden Thrush, Ryan Nolan, Alexis Nolan, Liam Thrush, Logan Thrush); and 2 great-grandchildren (Harrison & Sullivan Grett).

Michael was born in Ithaca, New York to Francena Lounsbery.  He was raised by his mother and attended school in State College, PA.  He graduated from State College High School in 1961 and went on to attend Muskingum University from 1961 – 1963 and then transferred to Penn State for his final two years of college graduating with a B.S. in Sociology in 1965.  The Penn State graduate went on to obtain his M.S. in Rural Sociology in 1967 and his PhD in 1970 from Penn State University.  Upon completing his education at Penn State University, he moved to Columbia, Missouri where he began his very long prestigious career at University of Missouri.  Professor emeritus and Associate Dean at the University of Missouri, Michael served 16 years as the director of Applied Social Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; then 28 years as the college’s director of International Agriculture Programs.  As Division of Applied Social Sciences director, he was responsible for four academic programs, several large institutes, five undergraduate and 100 graduate students.  From 1980 he served as principal investigator on external grants and contracts that attracted over 3 decades more than $80 million in funding.  Even in retirement he remained responsible for over $15 million in external awards and approximately $5 million in annual grant expenditures.  Along with his wife, Paula, he has endowed a scholarship at the University of Missouri that supports international experiences for undergraduates.  Michael’s contributions to Mizzou have been recognized with that institution’s Faculty-Alumni Award, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Faculty Mumford Award and an Honorary Membership in the University’s Agriculture Alumni Association.

Michael was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to his entire blended family.  He enjoyed traveling around the world, hiking in the Rocky Mountains and during his travels, experimenting with elaborate recipes to which many friends and family enjoyed; he was a musician, avid golfer, and reader.  He was a problem solver who often took on difficult and unwanted projects in both his personal life and career and continued even up until his death, to take care of business.  He will be greatly missed, by his family, friends and all who truly knew him.

A memorial service will be held on October 1, 2022 at 1PM at Cobble Creek Golf Course Club House.

Memorial Gifts – HopeWest ( – Memorial gifts can be sent to HopeWest of Montrose in his memory for patient care and family support for patients who have no insurance or those with immediate need.


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