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.