Elsie Michele Volk (Mich)
September 22,1930 ~ January 27, 2017
It is with such sadness and heavy hearts that the Volk family announces the passing of our dear mother, Elsie Michele Volk (Mich) as known to her friends and family, at the age of 86 on January 27, 2017. Michele was born on September 22, 1930 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to Richard and Blanche Swanson.
Michele spent her early years in Pennsylvania, however, when a young teenager she and her mother moved west to Los Angeles, California. There Michele spent the rest of her younger years and graduated from Hollywood High School in 1948. After high school she attended the Ben Bards School of Acting. It was during a play there that she met Thomas Richard Volk, originally of Staples, Minnesota, and the two were married in 1953. The next few years Michele and Tommy spent time in New York City and then back to LA where Michele continued modeling for various fashion houses. She was a photographers dream hired by numerous advertising agencies throughout LA.
Michele and Tommy eventually moved to Idaho. After a short stay in Boise, Thomas decided to pursue his passion in radio and the family moved to Carson City, Nevada. Tom, who had been a radio operator in the US Navy 2nd World War, was offered a management position at KPTL radio. Michele and Tom remained in Carson and raised their family.
Michele was so loved by her family and friends, and she would light up a room when she walked in. A greater loving and giving person could not have been hoped for. Even in her last years she always put others first and wanted to help even when her body couldn’t.
Michele worked at the Carson City Nugget in the early 60’s. Michele decided that she wanted to work with children and was instrumental in helping to start the first State run Head Start program in Northern Nevada. She taught classes to children at Stewart Indian Colony and Dresslerville and was also one of the first Tiny Tots program leaders in Carson City. Michele was involved with various events at St. Theresa’s School and the St Teresa’s Fashion show at the Governor’s Mansion, which was held every year throughout the 70’s. Eventually Michele went to work for the State of Nevada starting at the DMV and then going on to work at Nevada State Welfare for twenty years before retiring in 1991.
Michele had a natural affinity for being outside. Fascinated by history and a love for literature she enjoyed sharing her insights. She enjoyed so many of the elements that are unique to Nevada such as exploring the Nevada outback, cutting Christmas trees and firewood, or camping at out of the way places like Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park and Death Valley. Michele loved Lake Tahoe, and we kids can’t count how many Saturdays and Sundays she took us up to the Lake to spend the day…a favorite place of hers was Sand Harbor.
Her husband Thomas in 1997 and her three brothers Malcolm, Chester and Richard Swanson preceded Michele in death. Her three children Kathleen, Christopher and Stephen, her daughter in law Therese, and grandchildren Kaley, Garret and Daniel survive her.
“God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be, so he put his arms around you, and whispered, “Come to me.” With tearful eyes we watched you suffer and saw you fade away. Although we couldn’t bear to lose you, we could not ask you to stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hardworking hands laid to rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, that he only takes the best. You took the path to heaven but you did not go alone, for a part of us went with you
the day God called you home.”
A memorial service for Michele will be held in the future and will be announced.
Donations can be made to the American Heart Association and Autism Speaks, in Michele’s name.