Michele was born in Seattle on January 31, 1961, and grew up in the Central District. She participated in the voluntary busing program and attended several North Seattle schools. Michele graduated from Nathan Hale, where she played basketball, softball, and ran track. She was the manager of the school’s radio station KNHC FM, an honor student, and a National Merit Commended Scholar.
She attended Washington State University, where she ran track, played field hockey, and fenced.
After graduation in 1983, Michele was hired by the Seattle Fire Department and started drill school in January 1984. She was one of the few women and one of three African American women working as firefighters at that time. Most of her career was spent at Ladder 7, the technical rescue station, with the last few years spent at Station 6 in the Central District where she grew up. After 34 years of service, she retired in March of 2018.
Michele was kind, thoughtful, and generous to a fault. She was also smart, clever, and witty, with the ability and confidence to master whatever she chose to do. She was a problem solver who would always come up with a practical solution and a perfectionist in the good sense of the word. You always knew that anything Michele was doing was going to be done right.
Michele was a strong and fiercely independent person. She would seldom ask for help but would gladly give assistance if needed. Always responsible and dependable, she could be counted on to take care of whatever needed attention, making sure everything was as it should be.
Being adventurous and athletic, Michele tried and excelled at multiple activities. She liked camping and being outdoors. Working with her hands, building and repairing things were two of her favorite pastimes. She loved animals. Growing up, she was always bringing some stray or injured animal home, including a snake and a white rat. She also enjoyed taking care of her plants and the chickens in her “Sideyard Farms” chicken coop.
Michele made it her mission to make sure her mother had the best life possible. At 7 or 8 years old, she started calling herself her mother’s “Favorite Daughter,” an ongoing joke because she was an only child. Michele was so special she would have easily been the favorite, even if she had siblings.
Michele’s passing leaves a huge hole in the hearts of her family and her devoted friends, but her spirit and the impact she had on their lives will be with them forever.