Author photo

By Corey Costelloe
contributing writer 

Remembering my dad, while being just like him

Xs and Arrows


February 17, 2024

Corey Costelloe.

Elsewhere in this edition of The Loop, you will see the obituary of my father, Michael Costelloe who passed away on Feb. 5 after some prolonged health battles. Never one to shy away from a challenge or a difficult task, he gave everything he had in that battle before the grace of God took him home.

It's true what they say, as you get older you tend to notice you take more and more after your parents. In retrospect of my life I can certainly attest to that fact, I am a lot like my father Mike. He was a dedicated business owner, contractor and donated his time to the youth by using his electrical expertise to install playing field lights at Meadowbrook Park for Tehachapi Little League and the roller hockey rink for the Tehachapi Mountain Roller Hockey Association. Although we were active with baseball, I never played roller hockey, so that donation was strictly out of the kindness of his heart, a kindness he sought no recognition for.

He had a soft spot for kids and the younger generation, something we most definitely share. He was bothered when finances or facilities limited the chance for kids to be kids and play a game. So much so he did lots of work on fields and facilities for free. It's no wonder that my blood gets boiling when school districts and sports leagues sell the kids short. I am quick to act because nothing is worse than adults taking advantage of kids by limiting opportunity. I have dedicated much of my adult life to removing those barriers and will continue to push that work locally as we have more roadblocks and bureaucracies to improve upon. He set me on that path.

My dad did not have the best of upbringings, he was one of six kids and proudly took on the role of rebel and black sheep. He was the one who returned to New York after his family relocated a few years earlier to Southern California. He made his first of two cross-country journeys just days after his high school graduation. After learning the electrical trade, he returned to Southern California a few years later. Both solo missions, he never feared being alone, quite frankly, he cherished it. He and I share that trait as solitude is a chance to know oneself more. Just like he did, I discovered who I was on the long lonely road during my younger years as well. He helped us find our way to Tehachapi, a journey that included plenty of setbacks but he helped build my family into the fabric of this community and successfully set up the next generation of us for success in this town.

He did his best as a father, dedicated to not making the same mistakes that his parents made in their hectic schedule with a house full of kids varying in age. My dad did his best to be at everything, even coaching when necessary. Although his old school style was initially lamented by the younger generation, it was ultimately accepted as beneficial in his quest to make us men, in his own image.

He had plenty of his own flaws, vices and struggles which I worked to overcome, understanding that there was a history of many of those same issues in his family's past. Despite imperfections, he instilled in me plenty of values that I carry forward to this day. For 37 years he operated his own electrical contracting business, a business that he taught to his own kids and was generous for employment for other family members and those who needed a chance. He provided jobs to some people but to the worthiest, he taught them a trade. Many of whom are licensed contractors themselves these days. I found it only fitting and proper to show up to work the day after his passing. For a man that went to work nearly every day of his life, it was the only fitting tribute I could imagine. Costelloes go to work, that's what we do, I proudly answered the bell and will continue to do so.

We shared a love of sports as some of my fondest memories with him were our Sundays spent watching football, attending games and watching heavyweight boxing matches on Saturday nights. We attended games together and made memories around the diamonds, gridirons and racetracks across the west.

We had some other memories that are probably not appropriate to write about in this newspaper, so for now we will just stick to sports. Maybe over a few of his favorite malted beverages I could tell you more, but he did tell me about the time I reached legal drinking age that I should never get into a bar fight near pool tables because there are too many weapons available. Solid advice that I have followed to this day.

Special thanks to all the community members, former players he coached, those he worked with and customers who benefitted from his work that have expressed their condolences on his passing. He told me years ago that when he was gone all he wanted was for people to say he was a good man. It was my honor to tell him that on his death bed. He went in peace after that. A life well spent and an opportunity for me to put the ball over the goal line for him at the end, I thank God for that chance.

Getting back into the saddle with my own personal, professional and charitable work, I promise to be back on these pages more and will probably write about him from time to time as I come across lessons, or am reminded how much alike we truly are. Thanks for understanding, and for loving a man that loved this community, Mike Costelloe.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter, broadcaster and athletics administrator. He advocates for the value of athletic competition and serves as the President of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. He can be reached at


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