Michael Delmore lived in Mound for 20 years

Friends and family agree: Mike Delmore was a generous man who put others’ needs before his own.

As a Mound resident for 20 years, neighbors spoke of how he often shoveled their driveways and epitomized the idea of the “nice guy.”

His family, who live in California and Illinois, remember a brother who always was willing to give advice and make sure family events were lively.

“As a brother he would mentor, counsel, and share his wisdom,” said his sister Sue Delmore. “He always made it fun, kept it light.”

Mike Delmore, 53, was murdered June 19, dying after five bullets struck his head, heart, groin and foot.

Jeffrey Skelton, the husband of a woman who took refuge at Delmore’s house, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

Police say Skelton’s wife stayed at Delmore’s house after Skelton pushed her off a boat on Lake Minnetonka.

For Terry Heimer, a friend since high school, Delmore’s violent death showed him sometimes people can be too nice.

“Everything happens for a reason and in this case I think that the man up above needed someone who was ‘too nice a guy’ and so he took Mike,” said Heimer in a eulogy during Delmore’s June 24 visitation.

The visitation, at Huber Funeral Chapel in Mound, was full of friends and family who said even when he was alive, no one had a bad thing to say about Delmore.

“For a guy that wasn’t born and raised here, he certainly made an impact,” said Dan Hessburg, a close friend for four years.

At Delmore’s funeral at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church June 25, the church was overflowing with people mourning the man whose enthusiasm for motorcycling was well-known and his wry smile already missed.

In his eulogy, Dan Delmore thanked his brother “for being the tireless uncle and friend to inspire a new generation” and for “keeping all the happy lights on.”

Following the funeral, a procession was led by 30 motorcycles, which were followed by several Xcel Energy trucks.

Delmore was a motorcycle enthusiast, perhaps enamored by Steve McQueen’s motif of the independent, anti-establishment man, according to Dan Delmore.

Mike Delmore was born in St. Paul, and lived in Rochester and Lake City while he was a child.

When he was in high school, his family moved to Kankakee, Ill.

After high school, he went to school to learn about repairing motorcycles.

He was married briefly in the 1970s, and moved back to Minnesota in the early 1980s. He moved to Mound 20 years ago and has lived in the same house on Deerwood Drive since.

“He was very independent, self made. Nobody handed him anything,” said Dan Delmore.

Mike Delmore was a field supervisor at Xcel Energy, where he had worked for more than 25 years.

In showing example of Delmore’s willingness to help, neighbors say that when electricity went out, they’d call Delmore to report an outage rather than calling an automated line at Xcel.

“He was so willing to give of himself,” said Hessburg. “Any time a person needed a place to stay or a neighbor needed help, he was always there.”

Delmore welcomed Hessburg into his home when Hessburg needed a place to live.

Hessburg laughs now at the predictable routine Delmore kept. From reading the newspaper in the morning, to running in the afternoon, Delmore was dependable in his routine and in his friendships.

If Hessburg asked him to go biking or out for dinner, he’d always say yes.

“I’d call him up to see if he wanted to meet up for dinner and he’d say sure,” said Hessburg. “And then he would make sure to invite anyone who might be looking for something to do.”

Although he kept a routine, he enjoyed adventure, whether it involved drag racing, motorcycling or traveling cross-country.

Friends say he was the first one to open his wallet to pay for a round of drinks and he was the first one to contribute to a fund-raiser.

“He always felt he had to help everyone else,” said his sister Sue Delmore.

She said she thinks his need to help came from the fact he was the oldest brother of five siblings.

“The sad thing about what happened is that he cared so much he was blinded to his own safety,” said Hessburg.

•••SIDEBAR•••••••

Man charged with Delmore’s murder is back in jail

Jeffrey Skelton, 50, of Mound, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder. In addition he is charged with two counts of terroristic threats.

After a Hennepin County District Court judge set bail at $750,000, Skelton posted bond on June 27. The conditions of his release included staying with a relative in Park Rapids and having no contact with his wife.

On the same day he posted bond, Skelton called his wife, according to Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar.

Skelton was being held in the Park Rapids jail at press time.

Originally, the county attorney’s office requested bail be set at $2 million. After Skelton violated a term of his release, the county attorney’s office requested bail be set at $5 million.

“We are really concerned about having him on the street,” said Klobuchar.

“He’s already shown a propensity to violate the conditions of his release,” said Klobuchar.

Klobuchar said the $750,000 bail amount was not unusually low. She added that “occasionally” suspects charged with murder are able to post bail.

Minnesota laws requires a judge to set a bail amount.

Klobuchar said her office intends to pursue first-degree charges, which require a grand jury indictment.

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