City Manager Michael Kardoes dies

John Carroll - Enterprise Staff Writer
Friday, June 3, 2022
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Livingston City Manager Michael Kardoes died unexpectedly Friday morning at Livingston HealthCare, confirmed Park County Coroner Al Jenkins. Kardoes was 50.

The coroner did not disclose the cause of death. 

“We are still looking into it,” said Jenkins.

Kardoes became city manager of Livingston in 2017. He is survived by his wife, Nicole, and six children ages 12 to 21.

Kraig Hayden, lead pastor at Livingston Christian Center, where the Kardoes family are members, said he was devastated by the loss of his friend.

“I knew Michael very well,” said Hayden. “He was a leader of leaders. He was a rock and trusted confidante to many, many people.”

Originally from Titonka, Iowa, and a veteran helicopter pilot in the United States Air Force, Kardoes oversaw the daily operations of the city of Livingston and enforced the policies adopted by the five city commissioners. His duties included supervising all city departments, preparing an annual budget, and appointing task board members.

“The job of city manager was a job that Mike was well suited for,” said Hayden. “He was an active member of the church and he was active in so many areas.”

“He was way too young,” said City Commissioner Quentin Schwarz. “This is very tragic.”

Reached Friday by telephone, City Attorney Courtney Lawellin said she didn’t have much information to share. 

“We are still in the process of notifying the staff,” she said. “This is just horrible. He was a good man and I enjoyed working with him.”

Among some of the awards Kardoes received during his tenure as city manager include the Equity and Inclusion Award for Cities under 10,000 in 2021 and the Bob Worthington Risk Management Achievement Award in 2020.

Kardoes graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a B.S. in computer science. He also earned Master’s of Science degrees in both computer systems administration and command, control, communications, computers and information systems, and a master’s degree in public administration.

Prior to becoming city manager, Kardoes served 23 years in the U.S. Air Force as a UH-1N “Huey” pilot. His duty stations included Cheyenne, Wyoming, Minot, North Dakota, Great Falls and Washington, D.C.  He served as a Squadron Operations Officer, Squadron Commander, Legislative Liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives, Director of the Operations Division of the Air Force District of Washington and Deputy Group Commander, and was deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar and Shindand, Afghanistan. His awards include the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal.