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Official Obituary of

Michael "Mike" B. Bass

June 1, 1960 ~ March 18, 2024 (age 63) 63 Years Old

Michael "Mike" Bass Obituary

Michael “Mike” B. Bass, 63, passed away peacefully on March 18, 2024, after a bravely fought battle with primary progressive aphasia, early on set dementia, and COVID.

Mike was born on June 1, 1960, to Tom and Bonnie (Learned) Bass in San Jose, CA. Tom was an NFL coach and the family spent time in San Diego with the Chargers as well as other NFL teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mike had a distinguished career with the Fighting Illini football team, finishing in 1982 as Illinois's all-time leading scorer with 212 points. Known as the Illini's "Barefoot kicker" Bass led Illinois in scoring in all three seasons of 1980, 1981, and 1982, while also finishing his career as the Illini's season and career field goal record holder by making 24 of 28 field goals in 1982 and 41 field goals during his three-year career. He is still tied for the single-game record by making five field goals that included the game winner with a 46-yarder on the final play of the game in a 29-28 victory at Wisconsin in 1982.

Mike was selected as a team captain in 1982 when the Illini played in the Liberty Bowl, the school's first bowl appearance since the 1964 Rose Bowl. He earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors and Second-Team All-America recognition his senior year of 1982. In 1990, Bass was selected as a member of the Illinois Football All-Century Team.          

Bass had a 20-year career at the University of Illinois System and retired in May 2022 as the Special Advisor to the President and Deputy Comptroller.

Prior to joining the University of Illinois System, he spent 15 years working in Springfield in the Bureau of the Budget, as a member of the Senate Minority Appropriations Staff, Budget Director for the Department of Public Aid, and 10 years as Appropriations Director for the Senate Majority Staff.

Mike’s time with the University of Illinois went beyond the office. He also received his Bachelor's (Political Science) and MBA degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Mike was fiercely loyal to the University of Illinois, his friends, and his family. He was an expert on State of Illinois budgets. He set high standards for himself and his appropriations staff in their analysis of the State of Illinois budgets. When talking about how state government really works Mike said, “It’s a process of compromise and consensus, because for the budget to get done you need that.”

Mike had a great belly laugh and a great smile. Remember him as he was.

Mike was preceded in death by his father Tom, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

He is survived by his mother Bonnie of Florida, wife Mona, son Tucker, sister-in-law Lisa Griffin and brother Bob (Paula)Bass, niece Sara (James) Andreson and children Zoe, Dean, Samuel, and nephew Robbie, all from Florida.

He is also survived by his brother David (Igmar) Bass of Washington state; his stepmother Michele, stepsister Shana (Jonah) Sonnenshein and children Delilah and Sarina, all of California.

Services will be private and the family please ask for no flowers. Instead, memorial contributions may be made in Mike’s name to the University of Illinois Foundation – Varsity I.

Raise a glass with love to #48. You will be deeply missed.

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