Welder and science teacher Michael Anthony Kacergis of Provincetown, who had been in hospice at Seashore Point, died on Aug. 22, 2023 after a long illness. He was 78.
Mike was born on Oct. 19, 1944 to the late Clarence and Matilda (Jackett) Kacergis in San Diego, Calif. When he was two, the family returned to his mother’s home in Provincetown, where his father established a welding business at 3 Bradford St. in 1946.
At six, Mike started welding with his father. He took on his first welding job when he was 12, making a railing outside the old Seaman’s Bank building, now Cabot’s Candy. His welding skills were acknowledged by his Provincetown High School class, which prophesized that “Michael Kacergis would become a famous welder by soldering the arms back on Venus de Milo.”
Mike made handrails, gangways, and several custom staircases until the 1990s, when he transitioned from doing production work to producing sculptures. His sculptures can be found around town, at the Pilgrim Bark Park, for example, and in the well-known shop he inherited from his father. Mike would spend hours talking with anyone who walked in.
After Mike became a teacher, he spent weekends and summers in the welding shop, doing production and repair work on thousands of items. One of his biggest projects was building a courtesy float for the town of Provincetown.
In 1962 he graduated from Provincetown High, where he was a four-year letterman in football and won the history award his junior year. Mike studied at Lowell Technological Institute and Cape Cod Community College before graduating from Bridgewater State College with a B.S. in chemistry and physics in 1967. He earned his M.S. in physics at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1972.
Mike met Kathryn Anne Davis at Cape Cod Community College in 1964. They were married on Aug. 30, 1967 at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown. Mike died eight days shy of their 56th wedding anniversary.
For 34 years, Mike taught chemistry and physics at Provincetown High School and Whitman-Hanson High School. He founded the physical science program at Cape Cod Technical High School and taught both science and welding there until he retired in 2001.
He enjoyed making physics fun. At open houses, he would have his son Peter lie between two beds of nails and then break a cement block over the boy’s chest. This demonstrated that the force per unit of the grid of nails was not sufficient to puncture Peter’s skin.
Mike also loved to bring his physics classes to Riverside Amusement Park in Agawam to ride the rollercoasters and report on the physics of how they worked. As a welding instructor, he had his students practice by creating a sea monster that he later displayed at the Provincetown Carnival parade.
An avid fisherman, Mike also enjoyed snorkeling, reading history, and walking nature trails. He loved animals and regularly visited the zoo in Naples, Fla., where he spent his winters in retirement. Mike also lived in Provincetown, Halifax, Hanson, and Wellfleet.
He was a consummate practical joker, and he was keenly aware of how precious life is. “Life is so short a ride,” he wrote in his high school yearbook.
Mike is survived by his wife, Kathyrn Kacergis, of Provincetown; sons Peter and wife Kelley of Wellfleet and David of Provincetown; grandchildren Madison Kacergis of Jupiter, Fla., Logan Bentz of Wellfleet, and Aaron Kacergis and son Matthew of Eastham; his brother, Clement, and wife Marilyn of Harwich Port; and his sister, Kathleen, and husband Gordon Barney of Provincetown.
Services were to be held at St. Peter the Apostle Church Provincetown on Aug. 30.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod, Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 370, Hyannis 02601-0370 or to another charity in Mike’s name.