James Michael (Mike) Luckett, of Gainesville, Georgia, died on September 10, 2022, of complications from a sepsis infection. He was 83, and lived in Gainesville, Georgia.
Mike was born in August 9, 1939, in Gulfport, Mississippi, to Angelo Bradford Luckett and Myrtle Frances Luckett. He attended both elementary and high schools in Milan, Tennessee, and was an undergraduate student at Murray State, where he started his pre-medical program. He went on to attend the University of Tennessee at Memphis to finalize his formal medical studies.
Mike began his internship in Phoenix, Arizona, where he liked to balance his grueling schedule by taking in local bullfights in Nogales, Mexico, south of Tucson.
At the age of 24, Mike joined the US Air Force as a captain, and was stationed in Japan, where he met and married his first wife, Reiko Tamura. It was also there that he first took up downhill skiing, which he avidly continued after coming back to the US, dusting up powder trails in Colorado and Utah.
After returning from Japan, he began his residency in Atlanta at Crawford Long Hospital, then to Emory University and Dekalb General Hospitals. In 1997, Mike moved to Gainesville, where he joined Open MRI, a small radiology group there.
As a neuroradiologist, Mike’s dedication to his craft and a thirst for problem solving were an inspiration to his colleagues. When challenged with a patient’s diagnosis or treatment, Mike would dig in, getting opinions from his fellow doctors, spreading his medical textbooks in front of him and studying the panel of patient X-rays. Mike continued to consult even after his most recent retirement.
From his first marriage, Mike and Reiko have three sons: Patrick, from Portland, Oregon, and Christopher and Tristan, from Cumming.
His second marriage was to Dolores (Dee) McCaffrey and they have one daughter, Kimberly. On Mike’s first date with Dee, they went waterskiing! Both Dee and Kimberly live in Gainesville.
He has three brothers: Brad, from McAlester, Oklahoma; Larry, from Cleveland; John, from Palm Springs, California; and a sister, Rosemary, from Jenks, Oklahoma.
Mike had a profound passion for hunting. His mornings in fog or rain were connections for him to the natural world, and to his commitment for the hunt. Mike decided in the past few years to stop hunting deer (“they’re too pretty and too easy to kill”), and hunted wild pigs instead (“they’re slower and uglier”). Not long after, Mike’s aortic heart valve was replaced due to a congenital defect. Ironically, the most suitable donor was a pig, so after healing and returning to the field, Mike was dubbed “the Pigmeister”, or “Porky”, by his brothers and the rest of his hunting buddies.
Mike’s dog companions were a huge part of who he was and what gave him a sense of belonging and serenity. His daily walks, his hunting trips, and his extended hikes with Buddy and his previous dogs gave Mike his greatest solace. Among the trees, the flowers and the lichens that he most adored.
Mike’s intellect, his curiosity, his sense of adventure and imagination—all combined to define who he was.
Mike leaves behind those very gifts to all of us: a dedication, intelligence and hard work as a medical practitioner, a loyalty and great generosity to his family and friends, a wicked sense of humor, a deep love for his canine friends, and a palpable connection to the natural world.
His spirit and his legacy will be cherished.
Please join us in an informal celebration of Mike’s life on September 22, 2022, at Cleveland Funeral Home, 2721 US-129 S, Cleveland, Georgia 30528, from 5 pm to 7 pm. Meet and greet beginning at 5 pm, storytelling and sharing from 6 pm. Dress is casual and light refreshments will be served. Join Mike’s friends and family to grieve, to laugh and to share stories of a man we've all come to know and to love greatly.
For complete details, and to upload and share photos or words of remembrance to Mike’s tribute wall, please visit the following link:
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Nature Conservancy or to the Pet Adoption Center at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.