Jean Michels, beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away on August 30, 2019 at the age of 91 after a short stay at Amber Hills in Prosser. Jean was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas on December 5, 1927 to Roscoe and Zelma Brown, along with sisters Mary (“Sug”) and Dorothy (“Dot”), and brother Earl. In 1944 the family moved to Grandview, Washington, when her father went to work for Dupont at Hanford. After graduating from Grandview High School in 1945, Jean was the first of her family to attend college when she attended the University of Washington from 1945 to 1947.
Jean returned to Grandview in 1947 and married her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, Jimmie Lloyd Michels. Their marriage was filled with love and laughter. Jimmie and Jean raised three sons, Steven, David, and Kirk, each of whom would go on to raise their own families in the Yakima Valley.
Jimmie and Jean worked hard at purchasing and developing farm properties throughout the area until Jimmie’s death in 1995. Jean was an avid traveler and spent decades visiting countless countries and sites all around the world. She purchased the Travel Connection travel agency in Grandview in 1989, and spread her love of travel to those in the community. She furthered her travel experience by arranging and leading numerous group travels with friends and family. She passed this love of exploration down to her grandchildren and greatly enjoyed treating each of them to a trip to Washington DC near the end of their middle school years, and on other trips upon their high school graduations. She gathered the entire family together for annual Christmas Eve celebrations, a houseboat trip on Lake Roosevelt, and - most recently - a cruise in the Mexican Riviera.
Throughout her more than 70 years in the Lower Yakima Valley, Jean was an active and dedicated member of the community. Jean was a long-time active member of the Bethany Presbyterian Church in Grandview where she developed a deep relationship with her lord and savior, and shared God’s love with others by serving in multiple church leadership roles over the years. She was a member of PEO for over fifty years, a founding member of a ladies investment club, spent years with the Grandview Junior Miss program, and was active in the Home Arts Club and numerous bridge clubs, which she enjoyed playing in well into her later years. Jean was also a long-time golfer at the Lower Valley Golf Course, playing in several ladies’ leagues and passing her love of golf down to her children and grandchildren, particularly to her youngest grandson, Andrew, who often joined Jean and her friends on golf rounds in his younger years.
Jean loved supporting all of her grandchildren in their various activities and passions, and proudly attended countless music, dance, sporting and acting performances over the years, and every one of their high school, college, and graduate school graduation ceremonies. She taught them all numerous life lessons, not the least of which was how to play cards and wager during annual Kentucky Derby viewing parties, complete with fancy hats and one dollar bets.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband Jimmie; father and mother Roscoe and Zelma Brown; sisters Mary Ring and Dorothy Hoob, and brother Earl Brown. Jean is survived by her sons Steven (Alayne) of Sunnyside, David (Thora) of Grandview, and Kirk (Shari) of Grandview; grandchildren Abigail Michels of Portland, Joseph Michels (Eric) of Los Angeles; Brian Michels (Stephanie) of Puyallup; Stephanie Jensen (Andrew) of Snoqualmie, and Andrew Michels (Sarah) of Seattle; and great-grandchildren Jacob and Natalie Jensen and Parker Michels.
Above all, Jean loved and served God and her family. Jean’s favorite scripture, Matthew 7:1-2, reads “Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them.” Jean treated everyone she met with love and respect, and she will be deeply missed. Her inspiration and light will shine on in her family and all those who knew and loved her.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Bethany Community Presbyterian Church in Grandview. In lieu of flowers, please gift to your favorite charity in Jean’s memory. Those wishing to sign Jean’s online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Home in care of arrangements.
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