Obituary of Michael E. Rawlins
Michael Edmond Rawlins, 65, passed away unexpectedly November 11, 2023, at home in South Glastonbury. He was the beloved husband of Rhonda Hay Rawlins.
On October 9th, 1958, Michael was born to Nathan and Lestelle Rawlins in Manhattan, New York. His family resided in the South Bronx until the Rawlins family moved to Bloomfield Connecticut.
Michael started playing soccer early in his life and continued playing for Bloomfield High School. His artistic interests and talents were diverse, his skill in calligraphy was recognized at a young age, and he continued honing his craft throughout his life.
Michael fell in love with his alma mater, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the first time he set foot on campus to visit his brother Phil in 1971. Graduating in 1980, Michael was a double major in history and art history, a member of the Statesmen soccer team, and a Hobart Druid.
Michael led teams as a strategist at companies such as Cigna, FiServ, MassMutual, The Hartford, Open Solutions, and Aetna. He then joined ESPN as the Principal User Experience Design Architect, breaking new ground with the company’s Fantasy Tools and Design Division. Most recently, he was appointed by the Walt Disney Company to be the Leader of Enterprise Design for Disney Entertainment and ESPN Technology.
Over the course of his life, Michael continued to share his love for his Alma Mater by mentoring a countless number of students. He also lived by the Colleges motto “Preparing students to lead lives of consequence”, making volunteerism and philanthropy core tenets of his life’s work. Michael spent his free time giving back; teaching at the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, as Vice President of the User Experience Professionals Association and President Emeritus of the association’s Connecticut chapter. He was a board member at the Hill-Stead Museum, the American Clock and Watch Museum, and the Connecticut Science Center. He was a past president and board member of the A Better Chance, a nonprofit program in Glastonbury, CT, which brings promising students to Glastonbury for educational opportunities. However, the most meaningful honor of his life was being appointed to the HWS Board of Trustees.
No one exemplified living a ‘life of consequence’ more than Michael Rawlins. Michael strived to be the best husband, father, son, brother, friend, and mentor he could possibly be. He was committed to always helping others and routinely paying it forward. We have all been enriched by his selfless and empathic spirit.
In addition to his wife, Michael is survived by his children Dylan and Melissa along with her fiance TJ. Michael will be missed by his family which includes Janice Faulkner (Fred), N. Norman Rawlins, Marilyn Rawlins-Grundy, Phil, Nia, Carlos, Paige, Nelson, Janelle, Brittney, Jill, Kristen, Sofia, Alexander and many more family, in-laws, nieces, and nephews.
Michael’s funeral service will take place on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at 10:00 am at South Congregational Church, 949 Main St, South Glastonbury with reception to follow at the church's social hall. Calling hours will be held on Monday, November 27, 2023 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Mulryan Funeral Home, at 725 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury. In lieu of flowers please make a gift to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in support of scholarships or Glastonbury, A Better Chance, PO Box 502, Glastonbury, CT 06033. For online condolences, please visit www.mulryanfh.com.