Michelle Lynn (Holaway) Wendell was born on Sept 10, 1955 in Grant, Nebraska to Jack and Donna Holaway. She graduated from Perkins County High School in 1973, where she was an outstanding athlete and a good student. Her talents shown particularly bright on the track, where she was an excellent hurdler, sprinter and long jumper. Her talents for the visual arts were also noteworthy, especially her ability to draw. Her love of antiques and all things old began to bloom during high school, and she was always dragging something home from the dump in order to restore it. Upon graduation, Michelle attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Later, she returned to Grant, and on Sept 20, 1975, married Jack Wendell of Grant. They made their home in Madrid, NE and began their farming operation. Their son, Joshua Jack, was born in 1978 and Heather Michelle, was born in 1979. They completed their family in 1987, with the birth of their daughter, Angela Joy. She immersed herself into loving and raising her children, renovating and decorating the 80-year-old house in which they lived, and helping Jack with the farm. Years later, they moved their family AND that same farmhouse, to an acreage south of Wallace. They farmed there until 2005. Organic farming practices and natural ways to enhance the soil became a real fascination for Michelle, and she pursued these ideas whole-heartedly. Eventually, Michelle lived in the Brewster area and had started an innovative goat grazing service -- Happy Goats, Inc. She and her 1,000 head of goats, were employed by the Nebraska Department of Roads to clear riverbeds, pastureland, and ditches. As usual, she was a determined and pioneering spirit in this venture as she educated others on the benefits of this style of all-natural weed control. Though it was hard work, she was never happier than when she was out in God’s country—enjoying nature. Most recently, Michelle, had been focusing on her art—and had helped create Soulful Salvage, a delightful new store in Grant that showcases their many junk “finds” that have been remade into treasure. How she loved being a part of that place and all the junking adventures that went with it.
Michelle (or “Shoddy” as she is known to her family) was a beautiful, kind, and artistic soul who was a blessing to all who knew her. Her incredible creativity could be seen in the gardens she grew, the drawings she sketched, and the houses she designed. She was often a part of her children’s classrooms, sharing her artistic gifts and volunteering in various ways. She created the backdrops for summer Bible school programs for several years, and designed sets for the Wallace High School and community plays. She also spent much time loving and enjoying her grandbabies: Ainsley and Riley Strawder of Wallace, Leo Deaver of North Platte, and Jacob Wendell of Ogallala.
Left to mourn include her mother, Donna Holaway of Grant, sisters Denise Johnson of Grant, Suzanne “Sam” Elliott of North Platte, and their “adopted” sister, Susan (Litz) Martin of Scottsbluff. She will be greatly missed also by her children Josh and Kristy Wendell of Ogallala, Heather and Cody Strawder of Wallace, and Jerry and Angie Deaver of North Platte. She leaves behind a host of dear friends and the man she loved, Jack Wendell, of Brewster.
Michelle passed away on October 13, 2015 in North Platte, after a courageous battle against cancer.
A memorial has been established in her memory for later designation. Condolences may be shared at bullocklongfuneralhome.com where the service will be streamed live for those unable to attend.
Memorial services will be on Saturday, October 17th, at 4 pm CST, at the Wallace Community Hall. Memorial book signing will be on Friday, from 1 PM to 6 PM at the Bullock-Long Funeral Home in Grant.
Though we will miss her greatly, she would encourage us all to follow our dreams, and color outside the lines. No doubt, she would also add, “Always remember, I love you guys, big lots!”