Mike O'Friel Profile Photo
1956 Mike 2023

Mike O'Friel

March 19, 1956 — April 7, 2023


Robert M. “Mike” O’Friel, III


Mike O’Friel (Robert M. O’Friel, III), 67, was born on March 19, 1956, in Dayton, Ohio, and passed away on April 7, 2023, at Community South Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, following chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer. Mike was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer in July 2018, but through the efforts of the wonderful doctors and nurses at CSH and the grace of God, Mike managed to live with cancer for an additional 4 ½ years after his diagnosis. 


Mike grew up in Centerville, Ohio, the son of Robert “Bob” M. O’Friel, II and Carol A. (Jacobs) O’Friel.  He had two sisters, C. Ann (O’Friel) Roellig and Patricia “Patty” C. O’Friel. Mike attended school in Centerville, Ohio, and graduated from Centerville High School in 1974. He is remembered for his musical ability, playing snare drum in the high school band, and as a very funny young man that was well-liked. Bob O’Friel’s family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1974 and resided in the Castleton area where Bob and Carol lived for several decades. 


Upon graduating from high school and moving to Indianapolis, Mike attended Butler University for three years but opted to play music professionally, touring as the drummer for The Black Eagle Band, a rock group. Mike was a gifted musician and played the drums in numerous bands in the area and throughout Indiana for several decades. In 1986, Mike met his future wife, Dawn, while playing for the Oakville Aces (a Dixieland jazz band) led by long-time friend and pianist,  James “Jim” Burcaw (Oakville, IN). Mike initially only agreed to sub for the band on drums for two weeks but ended up playing Fridays and Saturdays there for well over a year and a half, commuting weekly to Muncie’s, Etch’s Club. It was just too much fun to quit! It was there that Mike befriended Mike and Vicki Armstrong, Dawn’s parents, and the four were fast friends. It was through that friendship that Mike came to love Dawn. They dated for three years and were married on Friday, October 11, 1991. They were married for 31 years until his death, having two children together, Hannah and Joseph. 


As a decades-long member of the Musician’s Union (AFL-CIO), Mike played jazz gigs for most of his adult life. He also played long-term in several bands, most notably, The Black Eagle Band, Innocent, and Jeff Stafford and the SBC Band. Mike began working for Ed Martin Honda in 1991 and often expressed gratitude for having such a good place to work. He retired after 25 years, earning the Honda Gold Award more than once for excellence in sales production. His customers loved him, and several became friends. He was funny, intelligent, quick-witted, and hardworking. And Mike made some wonderful friends there among his co-workers, many of whom he maintained contact with throughout his retirement. He was very proud to be a part of the Ed Martin Family. During his retirement, Mike kept busy working part-time at Manheim Auto Auction and also at the Valle Vista Golf and Conference Center, driving the activity bus. Mike enjoyed the people at both places and was thankful for the opportunity. When he was not working, Mike spent his time listening to music, completing a crossword puzzle, or watching old TV shows and black-and-white movies from yesteryear. He loved his dog, Charley, and the two were inseparable when he was home. 


Mike loved his family and took the responsibility of providing for his own quite seriously. In 2016, he personally invited his mother-in-law, Vicki Armstrong, to reside with his family. He later took on the added responsibility of providing a home for his granddaughter, Violet, in 2019. Throughout the lives of his nieces Anna and Leah, he showed himself to be a loyal and constant support of their musical talents, attending their recitals on a regular basis. These actions demonstrated that there was far more to Mike O’Friel than his good humor or musical abilities. He was a hard-working, responsible person who let his quiet, generous actions speak to his character and commitment to the people in his life. 


Mike is preceded in death by his father, Robert “Bob” M. O’Friel, II, the host of the long-running radio program, Jazz Lives, broadcast weekly on WICR 88.7 (UIndy Radio) and a musician and jazz historian with whom Mike played many gigs. Also, preceded in death were Mike’s Grandparents; Paternal: Carl C Erb, wife Clara Lucille Erb (O’Friel); Maternal: Clement V. Jacobs, wife Golda Mae Jacobs (Caywood).


Mike is survived by his precious mother, Carol A. O’Friel (Fishers, IN). His wife of 31 years, Dawn M. (Armstrong) O’Friel (55), his two children: daughter, Hannah M. O’Friel (25), son,  Joseph M. O’Friel (23), and the apple of his eye, Violet L. O’Friel (4), his only grandchild. He is also survived by his sweet sisters and their families. C. Ann (O’Friel) Roellig (68) and husband Butch Roellig (74) and their children: son, Terry M. Nolder (50) wife Tammy Nolder (51) their 6 children daughter Jerri Beth Weber (32) husband Steven their four children Fawn (19) Brayden (14) Jesse James (14) Michelle Jolley (11), son, Nathan Jolley (31) Fiancé Sadie Mersadeaz Mae Allie (28)  their two children Aiden and Addilyn (7) daughter, Rochelle “Shelly” Nolder (30) her four children: Natalie and LuAnn (8)  Jackson (6 ) Tristan (6), daughter Brittany Nolder (28) fiance Brandon Akers (28) their two children: Brayzlee (5) Beckham (1), daughter Jessica Nolder (28) fiance Jerrod Martineau (38) their son: Hunter (3)  and son Terry Michael Nolder Jr. “TJ” (25). Daughter Christina (Nolder) Chandler (45), Husband Ken Chandler (46), their two children: Frederick (10) and Christopher (7), and his younger sister, Patricia “Patty” C. O’Friel (64) (Chicago, Illinois). There are several cousins residing in Dayton, Ohio, and Michigan. Additionally, he is survived by his father-in-law, Michael “Mike” B. Armstrong, and wife, Sharon K. (Marshall) Armstrong; his mother-in-law, Vicki L. (DeWitt) Armstrong who lived with him for the last 6 ½ years of his life; his sister-in-law and her family; Dorinda M. (Armstrong) and Tony Guinn, and beloved nieces, Anna and Leah Guinn, and his brother-in-law and his family; Dylan and Angie (Sutton) Armstrong, son D. Mitchell “Mitch” Armstrong, and granddaughter Gracelyn May.


Visitation will be at Gray Road Baptist Church, 5500 Gray Road, Indianapolis, IN 46237 from 4:30-6:15 PM, and the funeral will begin at 6:30 PM, with Pastor Toby Johnson officiating, also at Gray Road Baptist Church. Memorial contributions may be made to Gray Road Baptist Church

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mike O'Friel, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Thursday, April 13, 2023

4:30 - 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Starts at 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 941

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree