In Memoriam

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Michelle Gaudreau ’85

A picture of Michelle Gaudreau

Michelle Gaudreau ’85, April 13, 2014, in Portland. This memorial was composed by her brother, Andy Gaudreau ’86, and her family. Michelle addressed everything that she came to head-on, with creative, determined energy. It was no different for the cancer that she escorted out of the world with her, after living with it frankly (and coaching others to do the same) for a year and a half. For everyone who encountered her, Michelle was a generous, energetic, wide-open-minded extrovert with high ambitions to live a creative life to the fullest. By every account, she succeeded in doing just that in more ways than a few. She grew up the child of an air force sergeant father and a mother raised in Mexico, and by the time she was 11 had lived in Mississippi, Japan, Florida, Greece, and upstate New York. She went to high school in Alaska, where she bloomed as an art, English, theatre, and classical guitar student under a few devoted teachers. After Reed (and a thesis on Wallace Stevens, her bright muse of light and artistic artifice), she moved for a few years to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and writing. Mixed success brought her back to Portland, which led to a life first of exotic dancing, wine selling, more travel—to Europe (where she taught English for a time in Germany), the Middle East, and Africa—and finally, to a copyediting gig, for which she would daily leave her little southeast Portland apartment on Belmont Street, for 11 hours at a time, to work on her laptop in the nearby Common Grounds coffee shop. She became a local fixture, and got to know every denizen of this Hawthorne-neighborhood world: from the business people, academics, and scientists, whose textbooks she wrangled into shape, to the bartenders, artists, and street folk who lived and worked nearby. In this setting, she met her close companion and spouse of the last six years, composer and voice teacher Nevada Jones, who survives her. She is survived also by her father, Robert Gaudreau; sister Christine Kesler; brothers Andy and Robert Gaudreau Jr.; and her beloved nieces and nephew, Meret, Jane, Kate, and Rene. “Refer to anyone’s inevitably bursting, saturated memories of her for more stories of her full, full life.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2014

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