Retired UC Davis Police Chief Mike McEwen passed away on Feb. 20, 2013, in Sedona, Ariz.; he grew up in Los Angeles and attended Loyola High School, graduating in 1948. In years to follow he said many times how grateful he was for the fine education he received from the Jesuits.
Mike’s professional career began at the Pasadena Police Department where he walked the streets, was a motorcycle officer and served as a detective specializing in solving crimes of forgery. After being promoted to sergeant, he then spent five years in community relations, working with colleagues and constituents to bring a sense of understanding and harmony among the officers, the schools and the community, and helping to mend relations during this period of high tension. Through the years, Mike treasured his many friends in the Pasadena Police Department.
In 1970, a select group of student, campus and community leaders chose Mike to be the chief of police at UC Davis. They were looking specifically for someone who could and who would work with the students, not harm them, during the Vietnam protest era. This was the chancellor’s wish and Mike worked tirelessly to fulfill it. His mission was to ensure that not one student was harmed on his campus.
Because of this deep concern for the UC Police Departments as a whole, he was ultimately named coordinator of the University of California Police Services, and acted as liaison with the UC Office of the President.
Mike also was chairman of the Law Enforcement Coordinating Council; a member of YONET, the Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Task Force; a member of the California Peace Officers Association; and a member of the Law and Legislative Committee, which met regularly in Sacramento, as well as the International Chiefs of Police. Mike retired March 31, 1991, from the UC Davis Police Department, after 21 years of service. He holds the distinction of being the longest serving police chief at the UC Davis Police Department.
In retirement, Mike and Marjorie spent sweet days on their boat, Illogical, in the California Delta visiting with fellow “river rats,” rafting and watching the great water birds.
In 1994, he and is beloved wife Marjorie moved from Davis to Sedona, Ariz., and never missed a day to praise its natural beauty of the area. Mike loved his friends and neighbors, fed the birds in his yard, was a member of the Audubon Society and played the piano daily. A music lover, Dave Brubeck was on the top of his list, but he listened every morning to Keith Jarrett’s soft jazz. For a few years, he played “oldies but goodies” at lunchtime for the residents at Sedona Winds Assisted Living. Golf became Mike’s passion and with his friends formed the West Sedona Five Golfers Association.
For many years, Mike and Marjorie traveled together through the West, camping next to rivers and in sight of mountains, finding peace in silent grandeur. In 2011, they celebrated their 60th anniversary at their favorite place on the North Rim surrounded by family and friends. Most of all, Mike wanted his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know each other even though spread across the country. So he began the “Getting to Know Your Cousins Project,” as he called it. Each child was asked to write about themselves. The pages were collected and printed and by Christmas 2012 each child received a bright spiral notebook filled with their cousins’ stories.
Mike’s beloved family includes his wife Marjorie; daughters Jennifer and husband David Reid-Marr, Maureen Vik McEwen, Kathy and husband Nedim Assaf, Amy and husband Marcus Goller; sons Michael and wife Melissa Gomes McEwen, Mark and wife Isho McEwen; grandchildren, Vesper Gers and husband John Michael Wickett, Jovielle Gers and husband Joel Sindelar, May Reid Marr, Adam Reid Marr, Ramona McEwen, Emmet McEwen, Krystal King, Alexandria Vik, Weston Vik, Michelle McEwen, Ruby McEwen, Benjamen McEwen, Trevor Assaf, Skylar Assaf, Spencer Goller, Macy Goller; great-grandchildren Connor King, Rasalas Wickett, Serena Wickett and newborn Mandala Rose Sindelar; cousin Eileen Hildebrand and her children; and second cousin Pauline Dornaus and her children.