Michael Anthony Traffas 1959 - 2023

Michael Traffas, age 64, of Salem, Oregon, died December 18, 2023, at home. He was a beloved father, husband, brother, son, friend, and work colleague. We are heartbroken by his unexpected passing.

Michael was born October 18, 1959, in Seattle, Washington, the eldest of seven children born to devoted parents Leo and Jeanette Traffas. He moved to Oregon as a toddler with his family in 1962. The family settled in Carlton, Oregon, on a small acreage, growing children, filberts, and an abundant garden. Michael’s thirst for knowledge was evident from the start. His mom was tickled to recall him constantly asking her to read him books aloud, including their encyclopedia collection, portions of which he would memorize and recount to her.

Michael attended schools in nearby McMinnville, including St. James Catholic School and McMinnville High School, where he graduated in 1978. After graduation, he traveled in Southeast Asia and moved to Oklahoma with brothers, Greg and Patrick, looking for economic opportunities. He worked in Alaska in the fishing industry and with Alaska Fish and Game. He attended college and spent a semester abroad in Spain. The experience led him to move to Spain, where he resided over ten years. During that time, he found an English language school and honed his Spanish language skills.

In 2000, Michael returned to the United States and began training to become a Spanish interpreter, specializing in the legal field. This drew him to a Spanish interpreter conference in 2003, where he and his future wife, Brenda Hidalgo, would meet. They became best friends, wed in 2004, moved to Salem, and started their business as Court Certified Spanish Interpreters.

The greatest joy in Michael’s life was becoming a father in 2008 at the age of 48, when he and Brenda welcomed son Eric to their family. Being Eric’s dad, sharing father-son time, and watching Eric grow into a fine young man filled Michael with pride, purpose, and gratitude. In the past year, Michael and Brenda worked as a team with courage and strength, caring for their son as he battled a serious illness and started the road to recovery.

Michael’s hobbies included playing golf year-round, often with brother Greg, reading widely, and physical fitness activities. He was also a skilled cook and loved preparing meals for his family.

Michael is survived by his loving wife, Brenda; son, Eric; siblings, Greg, Lucy, Gary, John, and Steve; and extended family. His father, Leo, and brother, Patrick, predeceased him, and his mother Jeanette joined them in Heaven just five days after Michael’s passing.

A celebration of Michael’s life is planned at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, 2024, with a reception immediately following at Pringle Community Hall, located in Pringle Park, 606 Church St. S.E., Salem, OR 97301. Parking is available on Church Street and in the park’s small parking lot off Church Street.

We welcome family, friends, and work colleagues to join us in remembering Michael and showing support to his beloved wife and son.


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