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Spokane entertainment icon, Mike Cavender passes away

Milton Michael 'Mike' Cavender died peacefully in his sleep from lung cancer on Thursday, January 3rd in his south hill home in Spokane, with his family by his side. He died of a rare and aggressive lung cancer which was linked to his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Viet Nam with the Marines as a decorated Navy Corpsman.

Mike Cavender was born June 7th, 1946 in Spokane to Bud and Karolle Cavender. The eldest of four boys, he attended St. Charles Parochial School, Gonzaga Prep and graduated from Shadle Park High School in 1964. He joined the Navy in October of 1964 and served as a corpsman with the US Marines in Vietnam from March 1966 to April of 1967. He was awarded Navy Commendation Metal for Meritorious Achievement 'for heroic achievement.'

Mike began his post military career as a bartender at the Rock Tavern in Post Falls, Idaho in early 1968. There, he met Cliff Berger and began booking bands through Northwest Entertainment in mid 1968, which was eventually renamed Northwind Booking Alliance.

He closed Northwind and joined the Dave Sobol Agency where he worked with Harley Reckord and the infamous Billy Tipton. In 1980, Mike left the Dave Sobol Agency to form Cavender and Associates with Al DeWood.

Mike was well known and respected for his contribution to and support of the arts in the Inland Northwest; in particular, the music scene. As an entertainment agent, he at one time managed an upwards of 40 bands, nearly 30 venues, and handled 90% of the market.

Mike served on the board of Washington State Arts Alliance, The Davenport Arts District Board and was President of the Board for the Spokane Arts Commission for six years. In 1990, He became a licensed real estate agent for Tomlinson Realty.

Mike Cavender is survived by his friend and former wife of 36 years, Kathleen Cavender; son Devin Beach of Newport, WA; daughter Jennifer Cheslek of Pullman, WA; daughter Rachel Cavender of Seattle, WA, and son Nathanael Cavender of Spokane.

A public memorial service will be held on Saturday, Jan 19th, 1pm, at West Central Community Center, 1603 North Belt Street in Spokane.


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