MICHELLE ELAINE McMURREY was born on October 30, 1961 to Daryl and Maris (Hager) Vander Kooi in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her family moved to Bozeman, Montana when she was young where she spent her childhood and developed a love for the mountains and outdoors. She graduated high school and then attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Education. She taught at various schools throughout her career and was most recently an art teacher at Edgerton Public Schools in Edgerton, Minnesota. She absolutely loved her students as they made her heart full in her vocation. In the summer of 2019, Michelle, along with her family, moved onto an acreage near Hardwick, Minnesota. On Friday, October 2, 2020, Michelle passed away at the Sanford Luverne Hospital in Luverne, Minnesota at the age of 58 years, 11 months and 2 days.
Michelle was passionate about ministering to at-risk youth. She started a non-profit, called “Gets ‘em Hope” which supported at-risk teens during some of their darkest times. She was a mom figure to hundreds of teens in the Sioux Falls area. Eight years later, she is still remembered and connected to many of those that she helped through their troubled times. Michelle loved music, especially live music and couldn’t help but dance when good songs were playing. This girl always had pep in her step! She volunteered with the Sioux Falls Patriotic Guard for flag line duties. She loved dressing up and attending Davina and the Vegabonds, local jazz events in Sioux Falls and visiting her Kansas City friends for live music. She loved her girls and her grandchildren dearly. She will be remembered as a loving, kind-hearted, non-judgmental Christian woman who prayed for everyone.
Michelle is remembered by her daughters, Jessica, Lindsey and Shannon VanderWeide of Hardwick; grandchildren, Daishoun VanderWeide and Peter Carvalho; her father, Daryl Vander Kooi of Sioux Center, IA; siblings, Shane (Kristi) Vander Kooi of Sioux Center and Loun (Phon) Phompakdy of Sioux Center; nieces and a nephew; and other family and friends. She was preceded in death by her mother, Maris Vander Kooi; sister and best friend, Dalaine Pfiel; stillborn son, Brandon VanderWeide; two miscarriage children; a best friend, Dale Gillen; and grandparents.
Memorials may be contributed to a ‘Go Fund Me’ account organized by Ruthie Becker.