Michael Sean Wiltshire
Michael Sean Wiltshire
Michael (Mike) Wiltshire passed away on Monday, July 30, 2018, at Rosewood Rehabilitation Center in Reno, Nevada at the age of 67, following a two-year battle with prostate cancer. He was surrounded by his three children when he passed peacefully. Mike was born in New York City on July 23, 1951, to Albert Michael Shaun Wiltshire and Helen Maresi Wiltshire. The family lived in New Jersey for three years. His parents then decided to travel the country looking for a place to open a motel. They ended up in Marin County, California where they purchased a motel between Terra Linda and San Rafael that would be Mike’s home for the next 17 years. Mike attended Blessed Sacrament School, San Rafael Military Academy, and Terra Linda High School. In 1969, during his senior year Mike joined the Navy Reserve. He went on active duty after graduation. He served during the Vietnam War on the USS Buck, a destroyer, as a Fire Control Technician. After five years of honorable service he was discharged and returned to Marin to work in the family business. Mike was very patriotic and was proud of his naval service. At the Wiltshire Towers Motel, Mike was first exposed to the hospitality industry that would later become his career. Mike and his brother Tim worked at the family business until the mid-1970s. By then, they had spent years working together as dishwashers, cooks, bartenders, and motel employees. Mike was fond of saying his first job in the restaurant business was peeling potatoes because you couldn’t break a potato. When Mike left the family business he worked for several restaurant organizations. He spent the most time working for The Peppermill chain. He attributed his success in the restaurant business to his training and experience with The Peppermill. He worked as a bartender and manager at various locations around the Bay Area. The Peppermill transferred Mike to Reno in the early 1980s. He worked at both the Reno Peppermill and Western Village until 1987. In 1987, Mike opened Famous Murphys Restaurant in Reno with his father and brother. Although it was a family business, Mike was the driving force behind the success of Famous Murphys. Along with a great team of employees that he met in Reno, he made it a Reno favorite for over 20 years. The restaurant was a popular special occasion spot. The Grill and Oyster Bar changed the late-night dining scene in Reno forever. Famous Murphys Delivery was also Mike’s brain child. Decades before other restaurants focused on delivery and take out food, Mike had six vehicles traveling around Reno delivering fine dining to businesses and
homes. Many of Reno’s current restauranteurs worked with Mike at Famous Murphys. He was always proud of their accomplishments at Famous Murphys and at their own restaurants. Famous Murphys became a victim of the Great Recession and closed in 2008. Famous Murphys closing was one of Mike’s greatest disappointments. Mike finished his restaurant career at the Grand Sierra, The Siena, and Roundabout Catering. He also enjoyed spending time on his side venture with New Millennium Games.
Mike had three children with his first wife, Debbie Harter Wiltshire. His twin daughters Lisa and Shawna were born in 1979 and son Brian in 1980. After Debbie passed away in 1987, Mike raised his children in Reno, Nevada. Mike was very proud of his children and their accomplishments. He described them as “magnificent” on a regular basis. Mike also loved to spend time with his five grandchildren. Mike is predeceased by his mother Helen, father Shaun, and brother Little Shaun. Mike is survived by his three children Lisa (Bryce), Shawna (Steve), and Brian (Tammy), his brother Tim (Andria), nieces Jaclyn (Dave) and Christina (Gil), and five grandchildren Kaila, Shaun, Corbin, Ainsley and Tobias. When Mike was diagnosed with prostate cancer he retired from the restaurant business to focus on the fight of his life. As his family and friends knew, Mike had a stubborn treak and a never-quit attitude. Along with great care from his VA hospital doctors, nurses and technicians, Mike took the disease on with an unwavering view that he would beat it. Mike never complained through two years of cancer treatments and procedures. The disease eventually beat his body but never his spirit. Mike will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Mike’s funeral will take place on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 14 Veterans Way, Fernley, Nevada 89408. A Celebration of Life will follow later in the day. For details on the Celebration of Life please call Lisa at 775-250-5101. We ask that in lieu of flowers, anyone who would like to honor Mike’s memory do so by making a donation to the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System. Donations can be made online at https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/53164095/. Please select “VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System” as the VA Sierra Pacific Network facility you wish to donate to. In the “Additional Information” box please indicate “In Memory of Michael Wiltshire”. The VA Financial Services Center can also be reached by phone at 877-353-9791.