Clare County Review & Marion Press News

Faces in the Crowd: Patricia Michell

Patricia Michell is the matriarch of the Michell family which extends several generations.  Both she and her husband, Max (now diseased), have left a legacy that has impacted the Marion Community deep and wide.  Max and Patricia celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006. As you will see in this exchange, Mrs. Michell and her generational family members are dedicated to the service of this community.  They have been leaders of this community for over half a century and their roots run deep in and around Marion.
Marion Press:  Mrs. Michell tell me where you were born and raised.
Mrs. Michell:  I was born in Marion Township and one of four girls of Vern and Bernadine Williams.  My parents were dairy farmers but eventually raised sheep.  I attended school all 13 years in the Marion Schools.  My future husband Max attended a country school through eighth grade at which time he entered the 9th grade at Marion High School.  I met Max while we attended high school. 
MP:  You mentioned to me that Max was an athlete in high school. Tell us about Max and the sport (s) he competed in. 
Mrs. Michell:  Max was a track star.  He held the 100-yard and 220-yard records until they changed from yards to meters. 
MP:  Please tell us more about Max and his parents.
Mrs. Michell:  Max grew up on 14 Mile with his parents, Otis & Helen.  They farmed and milked Holstein Cows.  In 1956 Max’s father was ill from time to time.  Max and I graduated in 1954 and were married on April 28, 1956.  We moved into Max’s parents’ home on 14 Mile.  We helped his parents on the farm, while Max was employed with Michigan Gas.  He worked for Michigan Gas for 7 years. 
After seven years Michigan Gas moved a division to Jackson, Michigan.  To keep his job with the Michigan Gas he would have to be transferred to Jackson.  The decision was made to leave Michigan Gas and stay on the farm.  So, in 1958 Max and I bought the farm and continued to milk cows until November 14, 1992.  At the height of our milking, we milked 40 cows.  The cows were sold on this date. I remember that date because Max was able to hunt the whole day on the 15th, the opening day of deer season.   
After selling the dairy cattle we raised Angus Beef, which we still do. We try to make it a family affair in the raising of the beef.   We usually keep about 25 beef on the farm.
MP:  Tell us about your family. 
Mrs. Michell:  Max and I raised five children, two girls, and three boys.  Lynne and Beth, Tim, Brent, and Max.  Max lives in Byron Center and Beth lives in Minnesota.  The other three live close to me. 
MP:  You are the Middle Branch Township Treasurer.  I have it my good authority you have served in this position for quite some time.  Please tell us about that.
Mrs. Michell:  I ran for Township Treasure in 1976 and have been the Township Treasure since 76.    The township hall is near the intersection of M-115 and M-66.  So, for the last 48 years, I have served my community as the township treasurer.  My daughter Lynne is my deputy treasurer in Middle Branch Township.
MP:  You are very active in your church.  Please tell us about your church, you, and your family’s involvement there.  Also, tell us about the clubs you belong to.
Mrs. Michell:  Our church was started in downtown Marion.  We moved to our present location in 1972.  Our church was called the Re-organized Church of Latter-Day Saints but there was a name change to The Community of Christ. 
Our church at the present is located on M-66 and was built by the congregation.  My dad and uncle were involved in helping with the construction.  There was a lot of help by members of the congregation.
My son Brent is the Co-Pastor.  Tim and his wife Alicia attend our church and are in ministry there.   Tim plays the guitar and harmonica. 
I was baptized into the church when I was 13.   I was taught to play the piano by my grandmother.  The first time I played was for a little girl’s funeral when I was 13.  That was difficult for me, but I have been playing ever since, every Sunday at church.   I have been playing for nearly 70 years.  I teach Sunday School and I have been a women’s department leader in the church for many years. 
My grandson Aaron plays the piano, guitar, and banjo.
MP: I have it by good authority that you have volunteered your musical skills at Munson Healthcare Hospital Cadillac.  Your son Tim also volunteered his time to play with you.
Mrs. Michell:  Yes, for several years Tim and I played at the chapel at the hospital.  The Spiritual Care Department asked us to play, and we did.  We came and played in the chapel every Thursday for a couple of hours.  We had to stop when COVID hit.  I would like to return soon and do it again.  I played the piano and Tim played the guitar and harmonica. 
MP: How many descendants do you have?
Mrs. Michell:  I have 16 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.  We had one great-grandchild passed away at a young age.  The oldest great-grandchild is 21 and the youngest is six months. 
MP:  What’s been the most meaningful to you?
Mrs. Michell:   My family and my community. I like to know that things go well for members of my family and within the community.
I volunteer at my church, at the hospital, and at the elementary school.  In the school, I go into Mrs. Horseman’s kindergarten class, and I read to them, and they read to me.  I also go over their letters and their sounds.  This is a way to serve my community and to help where I can.  The class I started first, graduated two years ago.  I had to stop during COVID but am back in the classroom now. 
Over the years I have been involved in two clubs.  The first is called the Jolly Workers in Middle Branch Township.  We used to put on suppers and do dinners for funerals.  The second is called the 20th Century Club.  This club provides the flowers for the memorial park.  We have assisted in community service to our schools through Grub to Go.
MP:  Your life has been centered on service to your family and friends through your church, the schools, and your township.  You have left a legacy for your family to follow in service to their fellow man.  Four of five Michell children were teachers who are now all retired. Tim served in the Marion schools before retiring.  He presently is an Osceola County Commissioner.  Your grandsons Aaron and Dan are basketball coaches in the Marion Schools.  Aaron has written for the Marion Press for several years.  Aaron’s wife, Kaitlyn, is the Intermediate School District supervisor for special education. Brent is the co-pastor at your church. Dan has the gym in downtown Marion.  Granddaughter Kaila has an archery shop in downtown Marion.  Both Aaron and Dan are real estate salesmen in the Village of Marion.  Tim’s wife, Alicia, is the President of the Marion School Board.  All in all, your family is engrained into the fabric of this community.  You, Mrs. Michell, are the Matriarch of the Mitchell Family and the catalyst for your family’s involvement in this community.  You are one of Marion’s favorite daughters.  Thank you for your service.

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