Dr. Michael James Binder
Dr. Michael James Binder (age 68) passed away on September 29th, 2015, in his Champaign, Illinois home.
Mike was born in Spokane , Washington on November 27th, 1946, to Della (Mikesell) Walsh and James “Bud” Walsh. He was adopted by Eddie Binder after Della’s remarriage in 1948. He graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School in 1965. He attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, then transferred to the University of Arizona, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1970, his Master of Science in 1971, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1976. He took a position as a Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois in 1977. Beginning in 1985, he worked for the United States Army Construction Engineering Research Lab in Champaign, Illinois as a Principal Research Investigator. From 1992 through 2005, he was the manager of the Fuel Cell Demonstration Program for the Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers.
Through his work in the fuel cell industry, Mike travelled the world, visiting fuel cell installations and organizing and attending seminars. He was passionate about the future of alternative energy, working not only with other professionals in the field but with young people still pursuing their educations. Of particular note is his work with the faculty and students at Ponaganset High School in Rhode Island. He helped them secure funding for many projects, including their Fuel Cell Education Initiative, an Alternative Energy Lab, a fuel-cell-powered Model-T hot rod car, and Protium – a fuel-cell powered rock and roll band for whom he arranged performances at Fuel Cell Seminars and Conventions around the country.
In addition to his love of travel, Mike was an avid photographer and an accomplished musician. He shared a love of music – particularly the guitar – with both his biological father, Bud Walsh, and his adoptive father, Eddie Binder. He was also a sports fan, following the Fighting Illini, the Chicago Bears, and the Chicago Cubs. He loved good music, good food, and sharing both with good friends.
Mike is survived by his brother Pat Binder; sisters Beverly Baker, Jeanne Gellner, Naomi Rhodes, and Jennie Walsh; children Chanda Lowe, Martin Binder, Kathleen Binder, and Anthony DeCerbo; eight grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service for Mike will be held on Saturday, January 2nd, at 12:00 p.m. at the Sunset Chapel at Fairmount Memorial Park, 5200 W. Wellesley Ave., Spokane, WA. He will be interred privately at Spokane Memorial Gardens, near the graves of his parents, Eddie and Della Binder.
Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, Champaign, handled local arrangements.
Online condolences may be offered at www.HeathandVaughn.com.