April 21, 1963 - July 8, 2020
The world lost a light when Miguel “Uncle Mike” Cordero Salas left us on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 8th , 2020 in Los Angeles, California. There is nothing that can be said to ease the grief and shock of his family and friends. In this sadness, we are also blessed with the overwhelming amount of beautiful memories he left us. Mike was born April 21st , 1963 at Chinatown’s French Hospital in Los Angeles, California. He spent his early childhood in Glassell Park before moving to Sylmar with his brothers, where he would attend Dyer Street Elementary, Olive Vista Middle School, and Sylmar High School. His life overflowed with music. As a child, his Tío Serafin encouraged him to play drums and he never stopped. He began his music career in the Sylmar High School Spartans Marching Band. He also got his start in the Salas family band, Grupo America, which played weddings, birthdays and other celebrations in the San Fernando Valley and also toured California and México. Throughout his life, he was perpetually an active member of several bands and projects, playing in a myriad of Los Angeles and Southern California venues. He was lauded for his vast technical skill and his ability to improvise and go with the flow with any set of musicians. When he wasn’t with his drum set, he was never without his ukulele; whether relaxing at a family get together or trying to pass some time while standing in a line, he was always trying to engage and entertain others with song. He is famous among his family and friends for his rendition of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.” As a musician, he was a passionate learner; he was always looking for opportunities to grow. He enthusiastically attended countless drum clinics in the pursuit of honing and expanding his craft and played a mentorship role in the lives of many younger musicians he knew. Alongside his music career, he worked as a tech support provider for many social services nonprofits in Southern California. Over the last five years, he was proud to work for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, where he drove all over the city to service vital technology at their facilities which provide suicide prevention services to Los Angeles and Orange Counties. After hours, he was always on hand to fix the computers of his family and friends. He attended USC where he met several lifelong friends in the Latino dorm, the infamous Casa Menlo House, and later, through his work at the USC Language Academy for international students entering USC who needed support with their English language development. During this time, he also co-founded the Los Angeles Young Democrats. Even after his time in school, he lived as the proudest alumni--- he religiously watched USC football and shared many afternoons with his fellow Trojans (and converts!) during epic tailgating parties. He is famous for his tailgating cuisine and rising early for home games on Saturday mornings to find the right spot to pitch the canopy and start the festivities. Mike was/is known as a most treasured friend and somehow meant even more to his family. He was an amazing brother, nephew, and son. To say he was a phenomenal uncle would be an understatement. For his nieces and nephews, he showed up to all the important moments in their lives, big and small. He was “Tío Mike” to extended family as well and embraced them with the same level of care and support. He always knew the perfect Christmas gift for each child (often music or USC-theme related!)—an acknowledgement of their particular interests and the people they were becoming. He made it his business to know and celebrate who they were. He was also beloved by the children of many of his close friends and was known to them as “Uncle Mikey” as well. Though he never had children of his own, he was deeply influential in the lives of many young people and we know his light will continue to shine through them for the lifetimes to come. He was a wonderful and supportive partner to the love of his life, Tara. They enjoyed making music together, watching classic movies, making each other laugh, helping each other to take care of their families, and collecting plush hippos. They particularly loved visiting Hawaii, historical sites, and also zoos all over the country to visit and celebrate all of the hippos who reside in the US. To both his family and friends, he was the guy you called when you needed an understanding ear without judgement or even some advice. His loved ones enjoyed his special talents: his ability to make anyone laugh with his jokes and impressions, his encyclopedic knowledge of pop-culture references, his knack for winning concert tickets on the radio or prizes on the midway, his ability to catch a nap any/everywhere, and more. He is cherished for his ability to fix broken things, his steadfast resilience, unflinching loyalty, and his meticulous thoughtfulness. His greatest talent: his socio-emotional rhythm. He always knew the “right” thing to do in any situation and found the most personalized way to show up for anyone in his life. He was the touchstone of his circles; he was the best at keeping friends and family (old and new) together and in touch. Everyone looked to him to stay connected. There is no one in the world quite like Mike. He is survived and beloved by hundreds of friends, many who considered him family, his nieces and nephews, three brothers, one sister, cousins, in-laws, tíos y tías. He is also survived by his great love, Tara, and finally, his Tía Clarita who raised him as her own and with whom he shared a very special bond. He is now jamming at the great gig in the sky with his Tío Serafin (on bass), and his primo-hermano Armando (on trumpet). He is also finally reunited with his beautiful mother Ofelia Maria Cordero Salas. May the countless people who loved him always remember to hear his music whenever they need to feel his presence; they needn’t look far, just somewhere over the rainbow. He was taken too soon, but his music plays on. Due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, services for Mike will be held at a later date. Details will follow when it is safe for everyone who loved him to gather in remembrance and celebration of his life.
The world lost a light when Miguel “Uncle Mike” Cordero Salas left us on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 8th , 2020 in Los Angeles, California. There is nothing that can be said to ease the grief and shock of his family and friends.... View Obituary & Service Information
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