Michael Cullen


Michael (Mike) Cullen passed away on February 13, 2024, surrounded by his two sons and the love and support of many people throughout our region. Memorial services will be held at Skroch Funeral Chapel in Flandreau, SD, at 1:00 PM on Saturday, April 20, 2024.
Mike was an educator to his core, often referring to his students as ‘his kids’. He was a fixture as a teacher and school administrator in the communities he served throughout his 35-year teaching career. He began teaching in Hankinson, ND and continued as an administrator in several school districts, including Egan, Oldham-Ramona, Elkton, and Howard.
Though he had many health challenges, he would always put the needs of others first, saying, “I’m fine,” whenever asked about his health. After being diagnosed with kidney disease in 2014, community members from across the region came to support Mike. The effort resulted in a news story that inspired a former student, Elizabeth Murphy nee’ Blankenfeld, to donate one of her kidneys. Her incredible sacrifice allowed Mike to live another nine years. He called Liz “my angel” and the Cullen family is forever grateful for her.
Mike was a devoted family man and community member. He loved watching sports, playing golf, listening to music, long drives on country roads, and spending time with his family. After retiring from teaching, he moved to the Twin Cities with his wife, Betty, to be closer to their two sons and daughter-in-law. There, Mike volunteered in the community and focused on his grandson Jack’s activities. Betty died of pancreatic cancer in 2019, leaving Mike alone. He was lucky to find a new companion, Marylee Temple, who provided friendship and support during the last two years. After Marylee’s sudden passing in August 2023, Mike’s health declined rapidly.
Mike was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 42 years, Elizabeth (Betty) Cullen, his fiancée, Marylee Temple, his father, Jim Cullen, and sister, Carolyn Jewett.
He is survived by his two sons, Adam and Mark (Nicole), and his grandson Jack. Surviving family members also include Cathy Smallfield (Troy), Colleen Wede (Andy), Connie Stone, John Cullen, Katie Bauer, Tina Calanchini (Kevin), and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, Mike’s family suggests donations to First Tee – South Dakota, the South Dakota High School Activities Association, or your local public school.