Clare County Review & Marion Press Obituaries

Obituary: Jeffrey J. Michels

Jeffrey J. Michels, age 69 of Clare, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, June 2, 2024 surrounded by his family. On August 20, 1954, Jeff was born the elder of two children to Harry and Arda (Gakle) Michels in Detroit. In 1969, Jeff moved with his family to Clare following his father’s work career, where he attended and graduated from Clare High School in 1972, and later obtained an associate degree in manufacturing technology from Ferris State in 1974.
His dedication to family and others was paramount, Jeff set the customer service gold standard, serving the hardware needs of the community for over 45 years. At young age, Jeff found a passion for helping others solve problems big and small with the team at Clare True Value Hardware. He often responded to after-hours phone calls with plumbing or electrical emergencies to countless community members. Jeff loved fixing, tinkering and engineering, a passion he shared with his son Brent, along with his entrepreneurial spirit. In 2005, Jeff and Sharon fulfilled a lifelong dream when they planned, built, and opened Ace Hardware of Clare. He remained at the hardware until his retirement in 2019.
When Jeff wasn’t at work or home, he was at the fire hall. In 1980, Jeff joined the Clare Fire Department, and never left. He served in various roles as secretary, treasurer, captain, and assistant training lieutenant—and loved every minute of it. Jeff also served countless years on the team organizing and planning banquets and community events including serving as the Chairman of the 114th and 117th annual Michigan State Firemen’s Conference hosted in Clare. Jeff was recognized for his countless contributions with awards and citations by his Department, City of Clare leaders, Michigan State Firemen’s Association, and State Congress. He shared his passion for service by mentoring new firefighters and demonstrated the importance of helping others when they needed it the most. Something his daughter Heather and son Chad have followed by serving the medical and firefighting needs of the community.
His other passions included hunting, snowmobiling in his younger years, partying with his loving extended family for a week each Summer in Oscoda and spending time with his grandchildren. Jeff cherished his role as our community’s “unadvertised handyman” always willing to lend a helping hand to those who needed it and was a devoted member of Our Lady of Hope Parish.
Jeff is survived by his wife Sharon Michels and his three children Brent (Alyssa) Michels, Heather (Aaron) Grove, and Chad (Kassie) Michels. Other survivors include his stepchildren Connie (Sean) Curry and Wendy (Victor) Pellegrino, his sister Michelle “Mickey” (Bart) Dexter, and his grandchildren Luciana, Fletcher, Parker, Dawsyn, Kaelin, Connor, Banks, and one on the way. He is also survived by the mother of his children, Rose Armentrout. Jeff was preceded in death by his parents Harry and Arda Michels and his “second dad” Keith Benmark.
A funeral mass in honor of Jeff will take place at the Clare High School gymnasium at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, June 7th, 2024 with Monsignor Francis Koper officiating. Friends may visit with the Michels family on Thursday, the 6th at the Clare Chapel of the Stephenson-Wyman Funeral Home from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. and again from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in honor of Jeff may be directed to the Clare Fire Department or to the Pardee Cancer Fund. For those unable to attend services, online condolences may be shared on Jeff’s tribute page at

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