Michelle (Shell) Miller

Resided in Escanaba, MI
Died March 5, 2020

Michelle (Shell) Miller, age 67, of Escanaba passed away at home on March 5th, 2020.

The youngest child of Aldamer and Marion Kenville, Shell was born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and graduated from Central High School. She received a B.A. in Spanish from the University of North Dakota (UND). Post-college, and after a quick stop in Alaska, and a move to Stevens Point WI, Shell embarked upon her 40 year career as a Spanish teacher. Her command of the Spanish language was a conduit for her to share a deep love of linguistics. Teaching High School Spanish also allowed her to meet her desire to bring the best out of each student, challenging them daily to think critically and meet their potential. A tireless worker herself, Shell believed that perseverance toward excellence pays high dividends.

She was a fierce advocate for women’s equal rights and for decades was involved with the Delta County League of Women Voters. She also was a champion for her trade, with her involvement in the Gladstone Teachers Union. She worked diligently to ensure the education of the students and the working environment of the Michigan Education Association (MEA) members were of the highest quality. Accolades for being the best teacher she could be and involvement in the union were not important to her. She simply did what she thought needed to be done.

Shell’s deep belief in the sanctity of marriage brought her to participate in Marriage Encounter for several decades. She and her husband Mike coached young couples and were part of a support network for all involved in the group.

As a mother of 2 sons, she took solace in the fact that her sons were successful in their pursuit of life in the world at large. True representations of her best mentorship, her boys moved off to exotic locales such as Guam and Portland, OR. These far flung homes gave her places to travel, with the reward at the end of seeing her sons, families and grandkids.

Her mentorship extended beyond her sons, students and Marriage Encounter, with involvement in Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she was a Big Sister for years.
In all things, Shell was known for her sharp and playful sense of humor. Days peppered with quick quips and dry comments were the norm, as her dark Irish sarcasm would bring a knowing smile from any and all quick enough to catch the joke.

Work or play, Shell tackled what she put in front of herself with aplomb. If travel was on the docket, she’d find a lighthouse to visit, museum to wander, or hiking to waterfalls to enjoy. Exercise was incorporated daily, with the decision to make between her love of tennis, aerobic dancing, walking with friends, yoga, rollerblading or cross country skiing.

Once the chores were complete, you would find Shell with a book, penciling a crossword puzzle, or chiming in with Jeopardy. If she changed the channel from Jeopardy, she’d ardently be watching the Green Bay Packers, UND hockey, and MSU basketball, football and hockey. When the stars aligned, she’d attend the games in person.

Passionate about all forms of music, especially live concerts and dancing, dearest to her heart were the songs recorded and sent by her sons for birthdays and Mother’s Days.

Shell is survived by her husband Mike of Escanaba (married 46 years); son Nathan and his daughter Bell of Portland, OR; son Erik (Roxanna) and their children Adeline, Amos and Aisenhower of Green Bay, WI; and brother Tom (Carol) Kenville of Fargo, ND.
Shell was preceded in death by her parents Al and Marion Kenville and her sister Kay Melin.

In Honor of Shell’s request, her body has been donated to the University of Michigan for ALS research. Respecting her wishes, there will be no public service or memoriam. In lieu of flowers or gifts please consider donations to ALS research or your own favorite charity.
Ever the champion of the environment, Shell requests everyone practice the four R’s of conservation: reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose. Finally, in honor of her memory, go for a walk outside and pick up some litter along the way. Leave this world better than you found it, Shell certainly did.

31 Tributes for “Michelle (Shell) Miller

    She was an amazing teacher, person and friend. If someone pushed her she pushed back harder and always wanted the best for everyone even if they didn’t see it.

    A beautiful write up. She was a wonderful neighbor always a hello and smile on her face everytime I saw her. My prayers will be sent for her and her family.

    I came to know your wife/mother Michelle as a fellow teacher in the Gladstone Area School System & our local MEA. I smiled as I read the obituary recognized her thru your descriptions of her dedication to her students & teaching profession, her quick wit and sense of humor. She will be missed by many but especially your family & friends. I will remember her, you & your family in my thoughts & prayers during this sad time. Robin Custance retired elementary teacher

    She will be greatly missed. She took me under her wing for playing tennis and giving me advice about teaching.
    She always had a smile and laugh.
    I’m sorry for your loss.

    So very sorry to read this. Though I only met her a few times in passing, I know that she was a warm and wonderful person. My thoughts are with Mike and her family.

    I knew Michelle as a fellow Gladstone educator and MEA member. Your write-up made me smile as I remembered taking yoga lessons and marching in informational pickets with her. I remembered her strong personality and quick wit. I didn’t know about all her volunteer activities, but it didn’t surprise me as she was always so kind and friendly. My deepest condolences to your family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Mrs. Miller was my Spanish teacher for four years. Not only did she push students to invest in their communities, Mrs. Miller fostered students to develop a global perspective. Today, I use those Spanish skills following emerging markets, having benefited from her teaching investment.

    Profe was one of my absolute favorite and most memorable teachers in high school. She instilled loved of both language and culture in her students, and I am forever grateful for all the time she invested in me.

    Sending so much love to her family, friends, and the GHS community.

    I was nervous to meet Shell back in 1991 after all the stories I’d heard of her. I am proud to have called her my friend since that day. The world has lost a shining light. Our prayers are with Mike, Nathan and Erik. Will have a margarita on the rocks in her honor.

    I was saddened to hear of Michelle’s passing I enjoyed many years of dancing beside her in our aerobics classes. She was a joy to talk with and to know. I am sorry for your loss of a wonderful woman.

    I am so sorry for your loss. I had Mrs. Miller in high school and was shocked to hear the news. She will be sadly missed. Thoughts and prayers.

    Mike, our hearts go out to you and your family. We are so sorry. We’ll be out of town for several weeks, otherwise we’d stop by to visit. Take care. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Sending healing energy to the family. Michelle was a positive, happy spirit and I appreciate the time I was able to get to know her. She always had a smile and never a negative word. I have missed her this past year as she was part of my yoga family for 6 years. Both of my children were privileged to learn Spanish from her and they loved her too. We will all miss her.

    Mike, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Michelle. She was a kind soul, with a great sense of humor. She will be missed. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

    My dear beloved friend of 67 years – boy, didn’t we have some times! Going to miss all that but she will remain in in my heart and soul for all times. Condolences to Mike, Nathan, Erik – we also had some times! Hopefully more. My deepest sympathy to all.

    She was such a beautiful soul and touched so many lives! She made such a big impact, and I can’t help but smile every time I think of her.
    Rest in peace Profe!

    I had 3 years of high school Spanish under the direction of Senora Miller. She pushed me to be the best I could be. I will always remember and appreciate her for that.

    Dr Angelique Day, Associate Professor, University of Washington

    We are so very sorry for your loss! It was always fun car pooling to Big Bay de Noc with Michelle back in the old day when she worked a half day in Gladstone and then the other half in Big Bay de Noc’s school! Was totally shocked to hear the news of her death! Will miss her positive energy! Prayers to all of your family!

    She helped me believe in myself when I was in high school and helped me discover my love for the Spanish language. She was also someone who was there for me during a really tough part of my life. She had an impact on many different aspects of my life and her teaching still affects my daily life now, two and a half decades later.

    Heart felt sympathy for the entire family and loved ones. I will take a walk outside today, thank you Shell… I will be thinking of you when tapping tree’s.

    It’s challenging to summarize Mrs. Miller’s impact on my life as one of her Spanish language students. I remember her as being kind yet uncompromising in the classroom; characteristics that enabled me to complete a minor in Spanish in college and obtain fluency in the language. She was my friend as an adult, and my world would be significantly smaller had it not been for her.

    My thoughts are with Mrs. Miller’s family.

    Mike, Nathan, Erik and family. Our deepest condolences to all of you at this time. We were very saddened to hear of Michelle’s passing, we like all of you were not ready to loose our friend, but it was not our decision to make. Mike this is the greatest obituary that I have ever read, and especially having the honor of knowing both of you, it described Michelle to a tee. She will be sadly missed by all of us, and having read all of these great comments, by a lot of others around the country that had the privilege to share time with her and your great family. RIP Michelle.

    I had the privilege of tap dancing with Michelle for two years! She would put her whole self into the dance!
    Praying that the Lord send you His love and comfort.

    Señora Kenville de Miller helped me a great deal in understanding her mastery craft of teaching Spanish language and culture. I will always be grateful to her. What an inspirational woman. Deep sympathies to Mike, her children, and all her family and friends~

    Michelle and I had a wonderful friendship in high school and college and reconnected now and again over the years, always with warmth and affection and the bonds of shared memories. Her steady and determined focus on her family, students, friends and just causes were a testament to what love and commitment can bestow on the world. My heart goes out to Mike, Eric, Nathan and family and all who knew and loved her.

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