Michael Peter Briggs was born in Santa Barbara on January 3, 1946 and died unexpectedly of heart failure on October 23, 2019. Michael and his older brother David were born and raised in Mission Canyon and grew up in the house their father built. Their parents were followers of Rudolph Steiner and the boys attended the first Waldorf School in Santa Barbara, in their home.
Michael lived most of his life in Santa Barbara. As a teenager, he attended boarding school in England, an experience Michael did not remember fondly. Never a fan of formal education, Michael found his passion in other interests. From woodworking skills first learned from his father, Michael developed into a master craftsman and cabinet maker, eventually operating his own shop, Westerly Sawtooth. He was a perfectionist, with an ability to design and produce truly beautiful work. He could build anything. Michael found joy and immense satisfaction in designing unique pieces for others, and useful, imaginative things for himself.
Michael balanced an intense work ethic with a love of hiking and exploring Santa Barbara’s front and back country trails. Michael had his own personal style and was known for wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat wherever he went.
At some point Michael discovered the American Southwest. The topography and open spaces captured his heart and soul. He was unbelievably capable traveling and surviving in remote areas and equipped his vehicles .A rare breed of man who could take care of himself whatever the situation. Throughout his travels to the Eastern Sierra and the Southwest, Michael developed a passion for photography.He created a remarkable body of work rooted in his appreciation of geologic formations, ghost towns, and rusted relics.
Michael had an enduring love of words. His home was crowded with books and there was time everyday for reading. Anyone who visited, inevitably encountered a large dictionary opened to a page containing the words and meanings Michael was drawn to.
He was a kind man with a wry sense of humor and deep insight into human suffering. The day he died, Michael went home after a work day, picked up a book to go read at his favorite coffee house…but never made it. He stopped his vehicle in the road a hundred yards from home, turned off the ignition, pulled the hand brake, and died. No slow progression into old age and infirmity, no medical bills, no hospital stays.That was Michael, living and dying with precision and art. We miss our dear talented friend .
Predeceased by brother David Briggs and parents Ellen and Lloyd, Michael is survived by son Lindsay of Tahoe City, California; niece Julia Franklin Briggs(Marcos) of Hamburg, Germany; and former wives Andy and Deborah.
A celebration of his life will be held at Skofield Park on January 3, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.(Follow signs)