Michael Pachovas

Died: July 5, 2016
Michael Pachovas thumbnail
Sunset View Mortuary
Selma Bertholdi
Bill and Alicia Castellanos Light a candle


Michael Pachovas cared about people, all people. Eager to start helping the world, he entered the Peace Corp a few months before his 21st birthday in 1969. On his first day in rural Ethiopia he dove into a lake and broke four of his neck vertebrae. He survived the near drowning, the cross country bumpy ride on an ATV and two surgeries to wire his neck back together. He accepted that he was quadriplegic as a result of the accident, but he never accepted that he was disabled by it.
In 1971, Michael moved to Berkeley, California to obtain a bachelor’s degree and take advantage of the moderate climate. He also began his life-long passion as a disability rights activist. His primary goal was to live independently with accessibility to all places. In the process of attaining that goal, he helped countless others gain their independence and accessibility through the establishment of the first Center for Independent Living. In addition to his passion for the disabled community, he also cared deeply about the environment.
Among Michael’s amazing feats, and despite his body’s inability to move on its own, he managed to go white water rafting, chain himself to a tree in the forest for several days to stop the flooding of a natural river bed, get arrested a few times for insisting on accessibility to public places and he spearheaded a cross country caravan of disabled individuals in the early 1980’s to show the powers that be in Washington D.C. that individuals with disabilities count and should be heard.
Michael’s children were his two macaws, Sierra and Cherokee.. He raised them from their infancy and taught them to be extremely vocal and very sociable – much like he was.
Michael was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Pachovas and Despena Nicoludis Pachovas and a sister, Kathleen (Jack) Price. In addition to his birds, he is survived by his twin, Andrew (Karen) Pachovas and siblings, Cynthia (Les) Rockwell, Gus Pachovas, George Pachovas, Marina (Ron) Dick and numerous nieces and nephews.
Michael loved and was loved by many. He will be greatly missed.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 on Monday, July 11, 2016 at the Sunset View Mortuary, 101 Colusa Blvd., in El Cerrito with interment to follow at Sunset View Cemetery.

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Service Schedule

Service Information

Date: Monday, July 11, 2016

Time: 10:00 am

Sunset View Mortuary


101 Colusa Ave, El Cerrito, CA, 94530

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Cemetery Information

Date: Thursday, January 1, 1970

Sunset View Cemetery Association


101 Colusa Avenue, El Cerrito, CA, 94530


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Timeline for Michael Pachovas

Died: July 5, 2016

Condolences for Michael Pachovas

Sunset View Mortuary

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Sunset View Mortuary.


Selma Bertholdi posted on 2/28/18

Michael my angel!!!! I just learned about you ditching us... I am already missing you so much!!! I hope Sierra and Cherokee are doing alright... Love you Michael, you may rest in Piece my lovely friend...


Bill and Alicia Castellanos posted on 7/10/16

Lit a candle in memory of Michael Pachovas


Ron Richey posted on 9/2/16

I knew MIchael for many years on the streets of Berkeley and he was wise, brave and full of self-confidence.We spent a lot of time together and it was a great pleasure to have him in my memory bank. and the things we did.Much love to his family and we have lost a real trooper. He is in a good place and I am sure that we will meet again. Ron Richey aka Nor Lau


Leslie Smith posted on 7/11/16

Uncle Michael inspired me in more ways than he will ever know. I was always proud to tell people about my Uncle in California who had been through so much, but never let it hold him back. He fought not only for himself, but for anyone who needed support. He was kind, but not weak. He treated everyone with fairness regardless of their background or status. I am so glad I had time to introduce him to Marvin and I will forever cherish the last few visits we had. I am going to miss him.