Michael Dagnon

Michael Joseph Dagnon, 80, of Ferryville, WI died unexpectedly in the Florida Keys March 10, 2024. He and his life partner, Elizabeth (Betsy) Shew, had migrated to the Keys to spend winters for many years, where they made lots of new friends. A memorial gathering for Mike will be held later in the year.

Mike was born in Shorewood, WI and grew up in Pewaukee, WI. After a stint in the Army, he got a job at Pabst brewery in Milwaukee, WI where he set his sights on saving money for a move. He had come to the Ferryville, WI area on fishing trips with his father, who was born on Rush Creek. In 1970, he and his parents bought a couple cabins south of De Soto, WI on the Winneshiek Slough of the Mississippi River and moved in. Mike quickly realized he was home.

Mike’s life on the river was filled with new experiences and adventure. He trapped muskrats, opened a bait and boat rental business, and learned taxidermy as another means of supporting his chosen lifestyle.  But most of all, he fished. If the day wasn’t rainy, chances are he got some fishing time in.

He learned his neighborhood of the river like his living room, and became proficient enough that others hired him as a guide to the always-changing hot spots. He liked to take family and friends fishing, and he especially liked to take youngsters, making sure they caught something. But mostly, for him, the goal was simply to be out there.

In 1996, Mike and a friend started a real estate business, where he talked fishing and tall tales to the amusement of their many customers. When some land came up for sale next to his father’s birth place on Rush Creek, he purchased it for his retirement home. Eventually he built a house and moved there, where he became a dedicated gardener, along with Betsy’s help and guidance. They shared much of their bountiful harvests with others.

Mike  enjoyed life and was serious about having fun. He was a life-long sheepshead and poker player. Probably two of his favorite places were in a boat or around a card table (with the possible exception of a dinner table). His Irish wit and comical quips made his listeners wonder what he’d come up with next. When he wanted to do something, indecision wasn’t one of his traits. He liked the motto, “How About Now?”.

Mike was an unforgettable presence. He is sorely missed.

Mike is survived by his life partner, Elizabeth Shew;  his brother, Jack (Belgica) Dagnon; his sister, Carol Dagnon; his nephew, Michael (Chrissy) Dagnon; his niece, Stephanie (Justin) Moss;  his grandnephew, Joseph Dagnon; and his grandnieces, Elaina Dagnon, Meeka Moss and Westlyn Moss. He is further survived by his many friends in Wisconsin and Florida.

Mike is preceded in death by his parents, Claire and Donald Dagnon; his sister, Patricia (Dagnon) Spangler; and his close friend, Nancy Amble.