Michael Thomas McNiff, 54, of Huntingtown, Maryland, passed peacefully into heaven at Georgetown University Hospital on Saturday, June 10, 2023, after suffering a hemhorragic stroke.
Michael was born on Wednesday, 3/26/1969 at 3:26 a.m. at the United States Naval Hospital in Annapolis, Maryland, to Barrie Elizabeth and Kevin Edward McNiff. Michael was born with an entrepreneurial, adventurous, and giving spirit.
He grew up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in the Marlton neighborhood and loved the rural outdoors around that area to play. As a kid, he loved spending time with friends, riding bikes and dirt bikes, and working on engines. He built his first bike in elementary school. Exceptionally strong for his size, Michael loved weightlifting, and began weightlifting competitively in elementary school in the Marlton Elementary Barbell Club. He weightlifted competitively into his teens and won awards for his weight class. He continued weightlifting non-competitively until recent times.
Michael loved bikes, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, boats, and cars. Since he was a child, he always had a bike, motorcycle, four-wheeler, or car that he was riding or fixing up. He bought and sold over 100 cars from his teens through college age to financially help support himself. He loved cleaning and fixing them up and making them shiny and beautiful, driving them for a while, and then selling them. He especially loved giving his nephews and nieces rides on his 4-wheeler around his back yard.
After graduating from Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Michael independently paid for his own college, earning not one, but two Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Finance with a minor in Economics from the University of Maryland College Park in 1993. He met his wife Nancy in college through a mutual friend, and they married in 1995. They lived briefly in Atlanta, Georgia, before moving back to Maryland in 2000 to Huntingtown.
Since 1993, Michael worked both as an accountant and financial analyst for various organizations in private industry, state government, and federal government in the state of Georgia and in Washington, D.C. In 2011, he also became licensed as a Maryland state realtor in his spare time. In 2019, he and his wife became certified keelboat sailors by the American Sailing Association and hoped to buy an Island Packet sailboat and sail on the Chesapeake Bay.
Michael was a very talented photographer and videographer and created a photography/videography business called Crossroad Pictures. He enjoyed portrait and nature photography, and some of his photos were published in newspapers and magazines like Capitol Hill's Roll Call and the Annapolis sailing newspaper Spin Sheet, and the University of Wyoming's Alumni Magazine. He also produced videos and documentary films for businesses and churches. Michael was a natural leader, and in 2004 he organized and directed a team in DC's 48-Hour Film Project – an annual film competition in which teams of filmmakers are assigned a genre, a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue, and have 48 hours to create a short film containing those elements. Michael was also passionate about helping people, so in 2007, he spent his own money and personal time to single-handedly shoot, edit, and produce a documentary film called Rebuilding the Future: Two Years After Hurricane Katrina for a church in New Orleans. His film was instrumental in enabling the church to raise money and promote their youth volunteer program for hurricane cleanup and rebuilding efforts, which continued many years after the storm. Also in 2007, Michael appeared as an extra in the movie National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets and met actors Nicholas Cage, Jon Voight, and Ed Harris.
Michael enjoyed traveling, especially to other countries, and visited Grand Cayman, Australia, Italy, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, Morroco, and Portugal. He absolutely loved the water, was a fantastic swimmer, and became a certified open-water diver while vacationing in Maui, Hawaii, which he visited with his wife eight times since 2008.
He also loved nature, plants, and animals above and below the water. He was always the one to make sure to feed the birds, and he installed numerous bluebird houses around his home and at his mother's house. He especially loved his 3-year-old, yellow Labrador retriever Shelby, his COVID puppy, and wanted to bring her everywhere with him.
Michael was a man of honesty, integrity, humor, and selflessness. He was always looking for a chance to help others and be a positive influence. Michael also valued and treasured his family. He traveled to New York City to see his sister Colleen’s first baby, Gabriel, so he could be his first visitor and take them home from the hospital. He rented a beach house in the Outer Banks so that his family could vacation together just as his grandmother Tupper did for over a decade to keep their family connections strong. When he heard that his sister, Dorothy, was traveling to Amsterdam and would be spending the night in a Morocco airport by herself coming back, he booked the same flight to be with her so she wouldn't be alone. He gave his nieces and nephews bicycles to ride during the COVID-19 pandemic. He went to extreme lengths to help his first nephew have the tools and encouragement to become a new driver at a key time in his life. These are only a few examples of his character. He believed in helping people to help themselves, so they could be independent like he was and feel that pride of accomplishment.
Michael will be deeply missed by family and friends alike.
Michael is survived by his wife of 27 years, Nancy McNiff; mother Barrie Stellabotta (John); father Kevin McNiff (Mary); sister Colleen Greene (Sean); half-sisters Mary Stellabotta, Dorothy Stellabotta, and Laurin McNiff; stepsister Tara Bennett; nephews Isaiah Hensley, Josiah Hensley, Gabriel Greene, and Julian Greene; niece Mariah Hensley; numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins; and his 3-year old yellow Labrador retriever and loving playmate Shelby.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at the Chesapeake Church, 6201 Solomons Island Rd, Huntingtown, MD 20639. https://chesapeakechurch.org/. All events after the service, including the repast and internment, are private.
The family deeply thanks the wonderful, caring nurses, doctors, surgeons, and staff at Georgetown University Hospital, particularly those in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit, for taking such good, loving care of Michael.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in his name to his favorite charities: Habitat for Humanity https://www.habitat.org/ or End Hunger in Calvert County https://endhungercalvert.org/