Michael Brightwell

Michael H. Brightwell, Jr.

Friday, January 26th, 1968 - Saturday, June 20th, 2020
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Michael “Mike” Henretta Brightwell, Jr., 52, of Salem, Va., passed away on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at Lewis Gale Medical Center. He was born on January 26, 1968, in Adams, Mass. to the late Michael H. Brightwell, Sr. and Kathleen Gallagher Brightwell.

While it is obviously impossible to summarize Mike’s life in just a few short paragraphs, it can however be simply explained with two words: “Gentle Giant.” It is no secret that his great many friends, brothers in uniform, and even some he met on the wrong side of the law, have a deep love and respect for the man Mike was. He achieved numerous titles during his lifetime. Some knew him as Lieutenant; some as Coach. To others, he was the “Kettle Corn Man”. He was Dad, Sir, or simply Mike, but all who knew him called him friend! He could be stern and gentle within the same conversation. Mike genuinely cared for everyone and had a way of getting his point across while still making you feel sincerely cared for.

While Mike was certainly a humble man who did not seek praise, or thought of as being boastful, it is imperative to recognize his tremendous work ethic and dedication to anything he set his mind to. Mike understood that the value of hard work and a willing heart is the only way to genuinely achieve anything in this world. Being the unselfish person that he was, Mike made sure to teach these qualities to his son, to those he coached both on the field and within the department, as well as others he felt led to share with. He worked his way up through the ranks in the Salem Police Department, beginning his career in August of 1989. Mike achieved the rank of Senior Police Officer, Sergeant, and last but certainly not least, Lieutenant before retiring in June of 2018. Throughout his career, he served in numerous capacities, such as General instructor, defensive tactics instructor, having taught hundreds of new officers; as well as serving on the departments Emergency Response Team where he later became supervisor over the team. Aside from his career, Mike became known as Coach while assisting and supporting his son’s desire to play Lacrosse. He was one of the founders, and later became President, of the Salem Lacrosse Foundation, serving from 2007 until 2017. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, and simply being outdoors, but he will be remembered most as a loving husband, father, brother, and friend to many. Mike will be greatly missed!

Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 30 years, Tina Wright Brightwell; son, Michael H. Brightwell, III; sisters, Tammie Brightwell, Kellie Brightwell Delk, April Light; Brother in law James K. Delk, Jr.; mother-in-law, Faye Ferguson; and numerous nieces, aunts, uncles and friends.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., and again from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at John M. Oakey and Son funeral home in Salem.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions and to allow for larger accommodations, Allen Lawrence has graciously offered to the family Haley Toyota Field, home of the Salem Red Sox, to honor and celebrate Mike’s life. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, June 25, 2020, at 11 a.m., at Haley Toyota Field. Graveside services at Sherwood will be private.
Face masks, with the exception for medical purposes, as well as social distancing will be required.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 | 2:00pm - 4:00pm
    Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 2:00pm - 4:00pm
    John M. Oakey & Son Chapel
    305 Roanoke Boulevard
    Salem, Virginia 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Second Visitation

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    John M. Oakey & Son Chapel
    305 Roanoke Boulevard
    Salem, Virginia 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, June 25th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Thursday, June 25th, 2020 11:00am
    Haley Toyota Field - Home of the Salem Red Sox
    1008 Texas Street
    Salem, Virginia 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Father Ken Shuping
  • Interment

    Sherwood Memorial Park
    1250 East Main Street
    Salem, Virginia 24153
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Walt, Tina, Daniel and Allison Raines, Salem Sheriffs Office, and other have sent flowers to the family of Michael H. Brightwell, Jr.
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Cheryl coleman

Posted at 02:25pm
Tina ,praying for you and Mike .What a special man .I ve had the privilege of cutting his hair for so many years.Truley a good man that touched so many lives

Duane and Ann Williams

Posted at 04:13pm

We are so sorry to hear of Mike's passing. He was a friendly and caring neighbor. Our condolences to his wife, son and all of his family.
Duane and Ann Williams

Edie Saunders

Posted at 09:35am
Hi Tina,
Words cannot express how sorry I am of the lost of one of Salem’s finest. Mike was loved by everyone that knew him. My heart aches for you and your family. He will surely be missed by all. Thank you Mike for your service. Many prayers and hugs for you all. Edie Saunders

Sharon Sheppard

Posted at 06:47pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you during this most difficult time. Mike was such a kind and caring guy. I'm so sorry.


Orvil Reedy

Posted at 06:21pm
So sorry for your loss, Orvil and I are thinking of you and family. Lots of love coming your way.

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