Michael Steven Pohle, Jr.
Major: Biological Sciences
Hometown: Flemington, NJ (born in Newark, NJ)
High School: Hunterdon Central (Flemington, NJ) - Class of 2002
Died along with Instructor Jamie Bishop and 3 other students in German class.
CNN video: Remembering Michael Pohle
YouTube Video: Mike Pohle - Tribute to a Hero (by Tuzzman101)
Personal Remembrances From Family/Friends/Colleagues
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Newspaper Remembrance Stories
Athlete from New Jersey was
"Happy to be Doing Whatever He was Doing"
The Virginia Tech men's club lacrosse team will wear Michael Pohle Jr.'s initials on their helmets when they play in the SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference tournament this weekend in Duluth, Ga.
Pohle, a senior, played midfield for two seasons before leaving the team this year to concentrate on school and work.
The 23-year-old biological sciences major was among the 33 students and instructors fatally shot Monday on the Virginia Tech campus.
On Wednesday, Virginia Tech lacrosse Coach Joel Nachlas described Pohle as a young man who loved life and always wore a smile.
"He was just a guy that was happy to be around and happy to be doing whatever he was doing," Nachlas said. "He was just upbeat in all situations."
Pohle grew up in Flemington, N.J. He was a 2002 graduate of Hunterdon Central High School, where he played football and lacrosse.
"He was a great kid. He was a class act," Craig Blanton, a vice principal at the school when Pohle was there, told the Hunterdon County Democrat newspaper in Flemington. "He was a good person overall. He had this outgoing personality."
Sean Ewing, 23, a boyhood friend of Pohle's, told the Star-Ledger in Newark that he tried to reach Pohle by text message Monday.
"I didn't hear back, but you believe in the best until you know it's the worst," he said.
"When you don't hear back, you can't help but get a little scared, though out of 25,000 people, you figure, this can't happen to my guy."
Ewing told the Star-Ledger that he had known Pohle since third grade.
"We both liked the same crappy horror movies. That's what I'm trying to hang on to now, the memories," Ewing said.
Nachlas said he planned to hold practice for his lacrosse players Wednesday afternoon for the first time since the shootings took place.
"I'm going to have to feel it out as I see the kids and kind of get the pulse of what's going on," he said.
Nachlas said there's some concern about his players participating in this weekend's tournament so soon after the shootings, but he said Virginia Tech is the second seed and had worked hard to get there.
"One question we've asked ourselves is whether or not we ought to, but I think we have to go ahead and compete," he said.
-- Jay Conley (Roanoke Times, 4/18/07)
York Times Profile:
At Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Raritan Township, N.J., it was easy for Michael Steven Pohle to stand out. He played football, joined the lacrosse team, excelled at science and was considered a model student by his teachers.
After graduating in 2002, Mr. Pohle left New Jersey and ventured south for Virginia Tech, where he majored in biological sciences and played for the lacrosse team. He also took a job off campus, tending bar nearby at Nerve Restaurant and Bar. After a while, his schedule became so hectic that he had to drop off the lacrosse team.
Mr. Pohle, 23, was two weeks away from graduating when he was shot and killed in Norris Hall on Monday morning.
"He was an absolutely great kid who loved people," his father, Michael, told his local newspaper, The Asbury Park Press. "He would do anything for anybody."
Biology major more than
just an athlete
It would've been easy for senior Michael Pohle to be menacing. At a muscular 215 pounds, he was an avid player of two bruising contact sports, football and lacrosse.
Instead, he was known for helping freshmen and came across as "a very happy person" with a great sense of humor, said his Virginia Tech lacrosse coach, Joel Nachlas.
"No matter the situation, he always had a smile on his face," Nachlas said.
Pohle, 23, majored in biology and minored in biochemistry and got very good grades, said biology professor Jack Cranford. Far more than a jock, Pohle took challenging courses and also helped advise freshman majoring in biology.
He "reached out to people," Cranford said, calling Pohle "very helpful, very warm, very caring."
Pohle came to Virginia Tech from Flemington, N.J., after graduating in 2002 from Hunterdon Central Regional High School.
He played football for four years, earning a spot on the varsity team, and also played lacrosse, said Craig Blanton, a vice principal at Hunterdon.
Pohle had a number of job interviews and was mulling what to do next with his life, Blanton said.
"He had a really big heart," Blanton said, "and whatever he did, he gave it his all."
Washington Post Profile:
Michael Pohle, 23, would have graduated in a few weeks, would have stepped outside the walls of school, and would have, if his record is any indication, done much if given the chance.
"It's unthinkable that he and all the others," Craig Blanton, his high school vice principal said yesterday, before pausing. "Here he was in his prime and ready to start life."
Pohle graduated in 2002 from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in New Jersey, where he played on the football and lacrosse teams. The flags at the high school flew at half-staff Tuesday, and staff members and students observed a moment of silence at the end of the school day.
The school district released a statement saying: "Michael was a beloved member of his graduating class. . . . As we remember this outstanding young man, our hearts go out to his family and friends who are suffering a tremendous loss."
Blanton said he last saw Pohle in the fall. The biological science major was home on break and went to a high school football game to root for his alma mater.
"That's the type of kid he was," Blanton said. "Michael was a kid you wanted to get to know. He was a good student. He was a good athlete. He was just a good person."
In the days since the shooting, Blanton said he has received many e-mails from Pohle's former classmates. Some simply say, "Tell me it isn't so," he said. Others ask how they can help the family. And some wrote just to share memories.
-- Theresa Vargas, The Washington Post
Chronicle of Higher Education Profile:
Michael Pohle’s teammates on Virginia Tech’s lacrosse squad will remember him for the long hours he spent in the weight room. His friends in West Ambler Johnston Hall will remember him for the devotion he showed his fiancée, Marcy Crevonis, who lived in that dormitory.
But even students who barely knew Mr. Pohle, 23, will recall his easy humor.
“I’ll always remember him as the class clown,” wrote Tejasvi Kommula on a memorial page in Facebook. They shared a molecular-biology course last semester. “He always had something funny to say.”
Carrie Goforth, who met Mr. Pohle nearly five years ago, when both students were new to the campus, added that he never missed a chance to tease her about her Southern accent.
Mr. Pohle’s familiar laugh — which sprang forth often — was infectious, say his friends.
But he was serious about his scholarship. He was just weeks away from earning a degree in Virginia Tech’s grueling five-year biochemistry program.
And he was a passionate, hard-working athlete: At New Jersey’s Hunterdon Central Regional High School, he lettered in both lacrosse and football. Former teammates flocked to the Facebook memorial site to pay tribute to his leadership and athleticism.
“I can still remember freshman year of high school,” wrote Tim Harris, a Hunterdon Central alumnus, on Mr. Pohle’s page. “I joined the lacrosse team and knew nobody. You were the first person to introduce yourself and make me feel at home.”
With graduation looming, Mr. Pohle had already set up a series of job interviews. He was intent on staying near Blacksburg, so he could be close to Ms. Crevonis, a first-year student at Virginia Tech. They met at a party last fall and had been nearly inseparable ever since.
Tragedy Beyond The Imagination
For Mike and Marcy, Forever Ended on Monday Morning
The Washington Post (Wednesday, April 18, 2007; C01)
There was a trivia game Mike Pohle and his fiancee, Marcy Crevonis, liked to play called Imaginiff, where they took turns posing silly questions: Imagine if you were a circus performer, what would you be? Imagine if you were a car, a color, a movie. They had their own version of the game, too, where they imagined the life they planned to spend together. Mike already had named the five children they would have.
He was 23 when he was killed in his Monday morning German class at Virginia Tech.
She is 19, left trying to imagine a life without him.
Michael Stephen Pohle Jr. was due to graduate with a degree in biochemistry in just three weeks, worrying about finding the right job and staying close to Marcy, a freshman who graduated from Langley High in McLean and met him at a mutual friend's party last fall. They argued over their favorite sports teams, and were inseparable from then on. She gave him a Phillies jersey last Christmas, and he slept in it every night. Yesterday she went back to his apartment and put it on, inhaling the lost scent of him as she lay on his empty bed and wept.
"We were the same person. We shared the same thoughts. We finished each other's sentences," she says, standing on the emerald green Drillfield, where they often met between classes, and where state troopers now order Marcy and Mike's grieving family to move back, move back, move back because President Bush is about to arrive to pay respects at the makeshift VT shrine to 31 students and faculty members murdered in Monday's rampage.
Marcy remembers waking up in Mike's arms that morning. "He's a big guy, so it's hard for me to sleep with my head on his chest, but I did Sunday night, and I heard his heart beating."
Go back to sleep, he told her, you don't have to get up.
But they always walked each other to class, so Marcy sleepily got dressed and joined him on the way to his 9:05 Intro to German class in Room 207 of Norris Hall. They had time to stop at Marcy's dorm first -- she needed her book for Russian in an hour -- but a police officer at the door of West Ambler Johnston Hall turned her away. The dorm was locked down, he said without explanation. Marcy thought nothing of it. "People were always pulling the fire alarm, and there had been the bomb threats."
Mike urged her to go back to his apartment. She remembers that it was 9:02. The last time she would ever speak with him.
Marcy headed back to the dorm, determined to get her book. She slipped in unchallenged through a side door, and went up to her room. People in the hallway were talking about a shooting or someone being hurt on the fourth floor. Marcy sent Mike a text message saying something seemed to be going on.
Where are you? Lock your door. I don't want you roaming. Be safe, keep me updated, he replied. He was always protective that way. Marcy felt invincible with Mike beside her. "He could bench-press like 400 pounds," she boasts.
Marcy was watching something stupid on TV, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," she thinks, when a news bulletin broke in reporting a gunman on the loose at Virginia Tech. A girl returning to the dorm from class said police cars were everywhere, that something was going on across campus. "I was panicked," Marcy recalls. She tried to call Mike, but he didn't answer. She messaged him: Call me asap.
At 9:55, when his German class was supposed to be out, Marcy raced across the campus toward Norris Hall. She had to reach him, tell him they needed to get away, something bad was happening. A police cordon stopped her.
Forced to wait back at the dorm, "I called and I called and I called," but Mike didn't answer, she says. "I thought, there are so many buildings over there, he's never going to choose Mike's building." Friends began calling to ask how she was. "I didn't care how I was. I was just trying to find Mike." Hours passed without word. Marcy reached Mike's younger sister, Nicole, at college in West Virginia, and she called home to Flemington, N.J. Mike Sr. began driving south.
Now they stand grieving together on the Drillfield, Mike's father, his sister and her boyfriend, his godfather and the brown-eyed girl he gave a Tiffany heart to last Christmas. "Mike told me every day: We're getting married," Marcy says. It was more a given than a proposal. She had been wondering if the ring might come on her 20th birthday -- May 13. The day after Mike's graduation. He always said he didn't want to be officially engaged for more than a year, but he'd been hinting about a big present.
"He was a tough guy on the outside, but he was romantic," Marcy says. He filled her dorm room with rose petals and chocolate kisses on Valentine's Day. When they went to the Bahamas for spring break, he dipped his powerful arms in the surf and cleared a path because Marcy was scared of "random things in the sea" touching her.
His father is waiting to collect what the coroner's office refers to as Mike's "effects" and what Marcy says is a book bag stuffed with every paper he probably had this semester. She was the organized one.
They cooked dinner together on the weekend nights when he wasn't tending bar at the Nerv, and she laughs through sobs remembering their attempt at fried chicken -- was it only three days ago? -- and how they nearly set his apartment on fire. The smoke was so thick they couldn't see each other. They loved to sleep past noon on Sundays and argue whether their imaginary daughter's name should be Emily Rose or Victoria Rose. Mike favored the latter.
And if their kids ever got in trouble, Mike vowed, he wouldn't lay a hand on them but, Marcy recounts, "he would make them run obstacles and wind sprints instead."
"Always the jock," his father comments, managing a smile. The dean of students told the Pohles that Mike will be awarded his diploma posthumously. Marcy has been excused from classes for the rest of the year, and will go home with the Pohles to bury the man she loved. She'll come back to Tech next year, she says, "because Mike would have wanted it that way." He loved this place.
They would live someday in a cozy house near the water, maybe Savannah or Williamsburg, and backpack through Europe, and sleep past noon on Sundays and argue forever about her beloved Yankees and his Phillies. She would let him name their daughter Victoria, not Emily, and fall asleep each night in the arms of a man who would sweep the ocean floor for her.
By Tamara Jones
Teammates, coaches remember Hunterdon graduate
A Hunterdon Central Regional High School graduate known for his athletic talent and glowing smile is among at least three New Jersey students killed in Monday's shooting rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech, which claimed 33 lives, including the gunman's.
Michael Pohle, 23, a Raritan Township resident who graduated in 2002 from Hunterdon Central and was in his fifth year at Virginia Tech, was shot and killed in the massacre.
"He was an absolutely great kid who loved people," Michael Pohle Sr. said of his son. "He loved Virginia Tech. He would do anything for anybody."
Michael was going to graduate in two weeks, and was looking for a job in the biological sciences, his father said.
Michael lived in an off-campus apartment, and wasn't involved with sports this year, his father said. He had a job working at one of the local restaurants.
"He was very interested in doing medical research," Pohle said.
Pohle found out about the massacre while he was at work Monday, when a co-worker pointed out a televised news report, he said. That day, he traveled to the school, where he met his daughter, Michael's sister Nicole, 20, a sophomore at West Virginia University.
During his time on campus at Virginia Tech, Pohle has met with other grieving families, university administrators, law enforcement officials and medical staff and counselors, as well as President George W. Bush and Laura Bush and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Kaine's wife Anne Holton and other dignitaries.
"They've just been very helpful," he said.
The family has not made funeral arrangements and is waiting for medical examiners to release Michael's body to them, Pohle said.
"The intention is to bring Mike back to Flemington," and have him buried there, Pohle said.
The family is grieving, but is grateful to those who have reached out to help, he said.
"We truly appreciate all the outpouring of support and love," he said.
Michael is survived by his father and sister; his mother, Teresa Pohle, and his brother Sean, 13.
Michael, who played football and lacrosse at Hunterdon Central before joining Virginia Tech's lacrosse team, was remembered Tuesday for his lively personality.
"There's no one who was more full of fun and life. Just a happy, fun, fun-loving kid," said Joel Nachlas, an Industrial and Systems Engineering professor who has coached Virginia Tech's lacrosse team since 1975. "And everything he did, he was just always having a good time. He was making the most of it."
Though Nachlas said he did not receive official notice from Virginia authorities, the longtime coach said he was notified of Pohle's death by members of the lacrosse team.
Though Michael came out for a third year with Virginia Tech's lacrosse team, a schedule packed with school and work forced the biological sciences major to drop his position at midfield, said Ben Nachlas, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech junior who plays lacrosse at the school. He is no relation to the coach.
"There's probably not enough time in the world to say things about (Pohle)," his teammate said from the Blacksburg, Va., campus.
The phone at Bob Schroeder's home rang several times Tuesday evening. Fellow coaches, and parents of former players, wanted to make sure Pohle's former Hunterdon Central Regional High School lacrosse coach knew Pohle had been killed. "Obviously, we're just shocked and saddened by his death," Schroeder said. "It's such a senseless act. I know those sound like empty words, but it's all I can come up with right now."
Schroeder also was Michael's physical education teacher in middle school.
"Even as a youngster, he was a hard worker," and, Schroeder said, Michael showed early athletic promise. "He was a model student. He wanted to please people. He wanted to do things the right way."
Lausch, Kara Richardson and Celanie Polanick
Virginia Tech Magazine
Michael Pohle Jr., born in Newark, N.J., on Oct. 15, 1983, was always curious about everything around him and was constantly venturing out to learn new things.
Although Mike was ridiculed by others during his early school years due to speech development issues, he overcame that painful experience and used it to help shape himself into the wonderful and caring person he became.
As Mike grew, he became involved in various activities. These ranged from learning to play music to earning his black belt in karate and participating in team sports. Mike played soccer, lacrosse, and football starting in grammar school and continued with football and lacrosse at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, N.J. He played midfield on the Virginia Tech men’s club team for two years. In his honor, the team wore Michael’s initials on their helmets when they played in the SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference tournament.
Mike loved being part of a team, and there was nothing he would not do for his teammates or his friends. He also never lost his love for learning, either in the classroom or in life. He was set to graduate with a B.S. in biology this May.
Mike is remembered by everyone who knew him for always helping people. Based on his own experiences and even with his athletic success, Mike befriended those who felt they did not fit in or who were lost in the crowd with no one to turn to. It was instinctive for Mike to help; it was his calling.
That inner desire to learn as much as he could, be part of a team, and help as many people as he possibly could are some of key reasons he chose Virginia Tech. Whether it was his family, friends, classmates, teammates, the Phillies, the Buccaneers, or his beloved Hokies, Mike was always looking out for them, as he still is to this day.
That is how he would want to be remembered.
Through the Virginia Tech Foundation, the Michael Steven Pohle, Jr. Memorial Scholarship has been established at Virginia Tech in his memory. For more information and/or to donate to this memorial fund, see VT's Hokie Spirit Memorial Funds page.