Reverend Michael David Gira, Jr. was welcomed into the Kingdom of God in the early afternoon of December 17th, 2023. He was 52 years old. David was diagnosed in 2017 with stage four lung cancer. He was pronounced cancer-free on July 9, 2019. After years of clear scans, cancer returned to his liver in November 2023. On Saturday, December 16, 2023, Michael David left the hospital after deciding to continue with hospice care. He spent his last moments in the comfort of his home and surrounded by his loving family and friends.
Michael David was born on November 25th, 1971 in Romeo, Michigan. He was the first-born son of Michael and Susan Gira, and the eldest of their three children. Their family moved to Locust, North Carolina during the early years of his childhood. There, he met his best friend Allen Bryant.
He completed his undergraduate studies at Appalachian State University and graduated in 1994. On June 21, 1997, he married his soulmate and greatest advocate, Amy Baggett Gira. They celebrated their 26th anniversary together this year. He graduated from Duke University's Divinity School in 2005 where he received his Master of Divinity with honors (magna cum laude). In 2009, he became an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church. He served as a pastor for nearly 20 years. During this time he served four churches within the North Carolina United Methodist Conference: Concord UMC in Graham, NC, Haymount UMC in Fayetteville, NC, Wakefield UMC in Raleigh, NC, and Orange UMC in Chapel Hill, NC.
Michael David adored preaching, praying, and visiting people. His personality can be described using the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Additionally, those who knew him would find it mandatory to add an excellent sense of humor to that list. He was musically gifted and spent time playing guitar and singing, both at church and in his own time. Complimentary to his passion for the ministry was his natural ability to show God’s love in his everyday life. In solitude and company, his thoughts, words, and actions measured up to those of the Lord. It is difficult to find words to encompass the pureness of his heart. How he lived his life for God and others has created an impact that will extend beyond his life or death.
After his 2017 diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer, Michael began writing his book, How Cancer Cured Me. He stepped away from the church ministry in June 2019 to focus on his healing and to devote more time to his family. He kept a blog where he wrote weekly devotionals and reflections on scripture to help encourage others. These devotionals found wide circulation in the cancer community. His book was published in 2020. It remains a proud accomplishment; it is a testimony of his strength and appreciation for life as it expresses the different ways he was able to experience God’s healing despite his suffering.
Beyond preaching, praying, and visiting he loved his family more than anything. He encouraged his children to pursue their passions and always reminded them how proud he was to be their father. He supported his wife Amy during her journey through nursing school. Like his faith in God, his faith in the abilities of his family has never wavered.
Michael David is survived by his wife Amy, his children (Marcie, Hannah, and Caleb Gira), his parents (Susan and Mike Gira), his two brothers and their families; Joshua (Kristen), and Christopher (Leigh), his brother-in-law Bobby Baggett as well as five nieces and nephews, his aunt Sharon Cole (George), and his uncle David LaVigne (Diane).
Michael David’s Celebration of Life will take place January 6, 2024 at 3:00 pm at Haymount UMC in Fayetteville, NC. Afterwards, there will be a reception at District House of Taps, 1240 Fort Bragg Road, Fayetteville, NC 28305.
Arrangements by Clancy Strickland Wheeler Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Wake Forest, NC. (919-556-7400)