Memorial for Michelle and Help for Pam

Michelle. The Very Happy Girl. I met Michelle in 2013, when I went to work at a local nonprofit that served people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We ran recreational camps and Michelle was one of my campers. I spent many fun-filled summers with Michelle up at Eagle Lake, CA. She was a breath of fresh air. She was kind, generous, and thoughtful, without a mean bone in her body. Never once did I witness her be unkind. She had a smile that could melt the toughest of exteriors and a naughty twinkle in her eyes that would make you burst into laughter when you knew she’d been up to something. Michelle was my friend. Michelle Emrick was born on November 29, 1972, in Long Beach, California. She was raised by her mom, the indomitable Pam Macy. Michelle split her early childhood between Long Beach and Cerritos, CA, until they moved to Reno, NV at the age of nine where she attended Mamie Towles Clayton Middle School and graduated from Sparks High School. A tapestry of talent…Michelle was a singer, a dancer, an artist, and best of all an avid animal lover. She lovingly cared for her kitties Bodie, Birdie, Newman, Millie and the twins Wendy and Johnnie, and they loved her.  She was actively involved with Note-able Music Therapy, a Reno music therapy program and she thrived on entertaining others through their numerous performances.  She loved movies and bowling with Special Olympics. Her favorite color was purple and when you walked into her bedroom you knew it! Michelle had a memory like an elephant and made a mean macaroni and cheese! She loved her chips with cheese and avocado and boy did she love root beer floats!  If she could have eaten Port of Subs every day, she would have (thank you Jessica for being so patient and welcoming to Michelle on her countless visits). As great of a Green Thumb as mom Pam has, Michelle dreaded yard work. Preferring to get her hair, nails and toes done over gardening.  But she loved shopping. And on the many occasions I went shopping with her, there was not once she didn’t devote time to finding something special for her beloved mom. Pam was her bestie. On April 13, Michelle fell ill and entered Renown Hospital. Her health was already compromised and she spent 8 days on a ventilator. But on April 20, after seeing significant improvement, we celebrated (from our living-rooms) at the news she was removed from the ventilator. Over the days that followed, Michelle appeared to rally. Pam prepared for Michelle to return home. We talked of all the wonderful ways we would celebrate putting all of this behind us. On April 27, 2020, Michelle quietly and peacefully left this world and all of us behind.  And as if losing Michelle wasn’t hard enough, she left this world without Pam or a single friend by her side. This is the world we have been thrust into these past weeks and this is what I struggle with most of all at this moment. That someone so bright, beautiful, and kind was not surrounded by those who loved her best. Instead of a homecoming, Pam is faced with giving Michelle a proper goodbye. While struggling to survive on her own without her daughter, best friend, and roommate. As soon as the world reopens, we want to celebrate Michelle and the many ways she touched so many lives. In the interim, plans must be made and Michelle will be cremated. As soon as it’s deemed safe, we will come out into the sun, gather around Pam, and pay tribute to our friend Michelle. This GoFundMe is being hosted on behalf of Pam and will be active until a memorial service is planned - hopefully for mid summer. Funds go directly to Pam to be used to give Michelle a proper service and to pay for all of the things that go along with doing that. Whatever we raise beyond what is needed, will benefit Pam and assist her in the coming weeks and months as she adjusts to life without Michelle. Hopefully, it will be enough to allow Pam some space to grieve and not worry about how she will pay the bills for a month or two. If you have it in your heart to help, thank you.  If you are unable to contribute, we hope to see you at Michelle’s Celebration of a BIG, BIG Life this summer. We will expect a large and lively crowd, armed with many buoyantly happy stories about a very happy girl. Michelle. She lives in the hearts of every one of us she touched. Michelle was my friend. She taught me so much more than I could ever have taught her.  Please join me in trying to be the kind of person Michelle was and do something special for her mom whom she loved so dearly.  She would be so happy to know her mother was surrounded by love right now. Pictured Above: Pam & Michelle Thank you for reading. Blessings to you all. Keep the faith. Gayla Ouellette


  • Sergio Salvador 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • John Mohler 
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Jane Ifland 
    • $25 
    • 2 mos
  • Debra Park 
    • $25 
    • 2 mos
  • Beverly Colgan 
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Gayla Ouellette 
Reno, NV
Pam Macy 
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