Alice Virginia Michel will forever be remembered as a collector. Known as “ Jinny” to those who knew her from her early days, “Mom”, to her three children Dick, Ann, and Susan, and “ Maw Maw” to her eight grandchildren and three great-grandsons whom she adored, she frequently confused friends with her many names. After a rigorous home school upbringing by her Grandmother Ana Van Saun, Alice collected addresses and favorite dishes- like black eyed peas and Coke- as she moved frequently with her military family throughout Texas and New Orleans. She gathered unique titles for a woman in the 1950’s after graduating from Hackensack High. With a BS from Barnard in Chemistry she landed jobs at Letterly Pharmaceutical, and then as a beloved science teacher for River Dell High School as one of the first women in chemistry and teaching sciences.
Even marriage on June 16, 1951 to the love of her life Robert C. Michel didn’t stop this dynamo. She avidly added to her treasure trove of talents that included but was not limited to Girl Scouts, quilting, costume design, custom clothing, master gardening, cooking, antique archeology, and chair caning. An incredible artist she traveled the world capturing unique landscapes in a variety of media and sculpture. There was no end to her kindness or love which she extended to a nest of critters including cats, rescued dogs and even wild creatures of her own little preserve on her property. She also cherished the continued love of learning as she surprised us all by taking up the guitar in her later years and still had an arsenal of tales on how to properly pin stripe flames on vehicles for a cool edge.
Her granddaughter Jaclyn best summed her up in the following poem:
Beautiful flower who grows in shades of lilacs and purple
She glides in the breeze, shines in the sun, glistens in snow
She is blissful, beautiful, caring and embraces me with her love
She nurtures and loves me
She is so pure…like a first snow…sensitive, powerful, peaceful
Her garden, her creations, her sketches, astound me and surround me
Her love is a blanket of protection
Her giving so impressive
Her jokes make me laugh
Her stories make me cry
Her soul is bright and beautiful
She’s filled with the Lord, the love of friends and family who adore her
She feeds us and makes us one
She is the heart of the holidays and the sunshine of all my days
She is my smile after tears
The comfort of my fears
My friend in my lonely days
~ Jaclyn Rose Callan
Donations in Jinny’s memory may be made to the STEM program via The Second Reformed Church of Hackensack.
Jinny is predeceased by her beloved husband of Robert C. Michel (2022). She is survived by her loving and caring youngest daughter Susan Michel-Veon of Glen Rock, son Richard, his wife Susan Mary of North Palm Beach, Fl.; daughter Annie Darling, her husband Kevin, of Ringwood; grandchildren: Grace, Brad, Jeff, Kathleen, Chad, Tegan, and Briton; great grandchildren Liam, Ezra and Ari.
Jinny will be laid to rest with her husband Robert on Friday, April 14, 2023 at 11:00 at the Hackensack Cemetery.