Walking On -- Michael Thomas Michelle

01.11.2022 Dean Rhodes Walking On


Michael Thomas Michelle

March 22, 1954 – Dec. 26, 2021

Tribal Elder Michael Thomas Michelle walked on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, surrounded by his wife and family.

He was the son of Tribal member Frank Michelle and Rosemary Underwood, both deceased. Michael is survived by his love of 40 years, Adeline “Bonzo” Winishut Michelle; sister, Carol Goodnow of Washington state; brother, Richard Michelle of Grand Ronde, Ore.; and stepchildren, Carla and Tommy Gilbert. He was preceded in death by his sister, Etla Goodnow.

Michael was born March 22, 1954, in Portland, Ore. He served in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. He took great pride in his veteran status and served on the CTGR Color Guard for a time.

Michael was an automobile mechanic by trade, as witnessed by his Nova that carried him and Bonzo on many adventures when they lived in Portland. He was a seasonal wildland firefighter for CTGR.

Michael and family moved from Portland to Grand Ronde into the Tribe’s first family housing almost 20 years ago where he was afforded the opportunity to work in Cultural Resources. He took pride in learning how to split cedar planks in anticipation of the Tribe’s first plankhouse as part of the Restoration efforts. He and Richard were recently added to the CTGR Restoration Roll.

Michael was devoted to Adeline and they enjoyed old TV shows and long drives. Together they became a first family of Grand Ronde housing. Michael was always preparing a solid foundation for she and Richard should anything happen to him. He achieved that goal.

Michael was the epitome of a Rez Uncle. He was judgment free, always had time to listen to another’s struggle and offer his help in all things, including telling you the truth as he knew it. He would joke around with you and tell good stories with an infectious grin. He wasn’t just your friend; he was your brother and your children were his and Bonzo’s nieces and nephews. He is missed.

There will be a memorial dinner at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the Lighthouse Church on Grand Ronde Road. Graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, at Willamette Veterans Cemetery, 11800 S.E. Mount Scott Blvd., Happy Valley.

His headstone will read, “Hayu Masi Uncle.”