Mike Grabow was the kind of guy who could make a good friend within minutes of meeting the person, said his family.
“He would just give you the shirt off of his back,” said his sister, Lindsay Osier. “He went beyond and beyond for people to make them feel good in their lives.”
He earned the nickname “Money Mike” for his graciousness, whether buying a beer for a friend at Sonoma County taprooms or pulling out a $20 bill for children as a gift.
“He went out to eat one time and left a $100 tip for the waitress. He just wanted to make people’s day,” Osier said.
Grabow, 40, died in the Tubbs fire as it ripped through his family’s residence near Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa. Only his bones were found, Osier said. His beloved 6-month-old French bulldog, Stax, also died in the fire.
Five years earlier, Grabow’s 17-year-old daughter had died from health issues.
Growing up in a military family, Grabow lived around the country until his family settled in Boise, Idaho, when he was a teenager. He enjoyed outdoor activities that provided him lifelong hobbies.
“He loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing. Fly fishing was a passion of his. He worked to play outdoors,” said his father, Victor Grabow. “He did archery hunting big game in Idaho.”
When his family moved out to Santa Rosa years later, Grabow joined them, working in landscaping jobs, Osier said.
Grabow’s father, Victor, attended San Francisco Giants games with him.
“Anything to get out with people. He was very social. Any chance he got, he’d hang out with people,” he said. “It takes him five minutes to get to know anybody. They’d be friends forever.”
Grabow had celebrated his 40th birthday Sept. 21, where his friends had a party, featuring a roasted pig, at Cooperage Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, where he was a regular customer. He would often be accompanied by Stax.
“He treated that dog like his kid,” said Rachael Ingram, who became friends with him when she worked as a bartender at Whole Foods Market. “He loved that dog.”
His friends gathered at Cooperage when they heard about his death.
“They were all crying, but also laughing,” Ingram said of the informal gathering. “He was just great. He made everyone laugh.”
The Press Democrat remembers the 40 lives lost in the North Bay fires. Click here for more of the stories.