“He was the biggest cheerleader for our city,” Family and friends mourn community leader who died of COVID-19

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Mike McAuliffe, a well-known OKC community leader, died of COVID-19 Sunday evening after fighting the virus for weeks in the ICU. 

“Mike McAuliffe is loved,” friend Kliff Davis said. “Mike will be missed. Mike was dear to all of our hearts.”

Friends and family of Mike McAuliffe call him a fixture in Oklahoma City for decades. 

“Mike McAuliffe was Mr. Oklahoma Junior,” Davis said. 

Sunday night, Mike’s family announced COVID-19 took the life of the 64-year-old.

“What really got me was how fast it all happened,” friend Gary Marrs said. 

Gary Marrs, former OKC Fire Chief, tells KFOR he ran into Mike a few days before he tested positive. 

“When he left, he was like oh I have to go because I’m going to a meeting about sponsors for the Christmas parade!” Marrs said. “He said he felt fine.”

However, Mike’s health quickly declined. He was rushed to St. Anthony in downtown OKC, and within a few weeks, his family was forced to say goodbye. 

“Wear a mask because it could’ve been as simple as that,” Deborah McAuliffe Senner said.

“We were shocked because it sounded like he was doing ok,” Former Governor of Oklahoma David Walters said. 

Former Oklahoma Governor David Walters was a friend and neighbor to Mike for 30 years. 

“It was really sobering to see the stillness of that house over the holidays and to know he was suffering,” David said. “At least he’s in a better place.”

Mike is a born and bred Oklahoman. He was a proud longtime member of the downtown Rotary Club in OKC. 

Mike was also proud to serve as Chief of Staff to two OKC mayors: Ron Norick and Andy Coats. 

He is also known for planning countless community events, including the Christmas Boat Parade, Navy Days, and the city’s Jazz Festival. 

“He loved his city,” Deborah McAuliffe Senner said. “One of the comments said that he was the biggest cheerleader of our city, and that’s so true.”

“I hope everyone understands now that COVID-19 is real,” Davis said. 

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