Nature 36


Michele "Shelly" (Trelford) Hessinger

March 26, 2018


Michele Trelford Hessinger, known locally as Shelly to her friends and as Mrs. Hessinger to her students; died peacefully Monday, March 26, 2018; in her home with her husband, Joe, by her side.  She had the cutest smile and could light up the darkest room or mood. She was born in Waukegan, Illinois  and grew up spending summers with cousins in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on her maternal grandmother’s farm. Her father, Jack Trelford, still lives in the U.P. (as natives call it) and the family plot in Chatham, Michigan is where Shelly has chosen to be buried; next to her son, Matt, and brother, Tommy.

Suffering from crippling arthritis, as well as diabetes, Shelly’s years were filled with constant pain, which she overcame with her good nature and kind and loving personality. You could never tell when she was in pain because she hid it well, but she was always in pain.

A private person, Shelly would open up once she knew you and all of her many friends were glad to have known her.

In September of 1979, after two years of asking, Shelly finally said yes to Joe and they were married in Scottsdale; and in May of 1980 the newlyweds moved to the White Mountains, which Shelly loved for the tall trees and four seasons. It reminded her of Michigan but never as cold or wet.

Shelly gave birth to two sons, Matt and Joey and while they were growing up Shelly began attending classes at NPC and satellite classes for Northern Arizona University. She was one of the area’s first NAU graduates who never attended a class in Flagstaff. Today with computers and online classes this is not as rare as it was in the '80s. After receiving her degree in education with a major in history, Shelly taught with Kay Locke in the Blueridge School District. Based on her performance, the school district hired her for the mid school as a fourth grade teacher; a role she loved and enjoyed until her health forced an early retirement.

Many students learned valuable life lessons watching and learning from their teacher who could not walk. She could, however, beat you racing in the hall with her mechanical legs, "scoots" and her health never diminished her love of children, animals (especially dogs) and life itself.

She is survived by her parents: Jack Trelford and Eva Van Horne; brother Mike Trelford; husband Joe Hessinger; son Joey; daughter-in-law Katie; and her grandchildren Aubree and Matthew. Of all her titles, daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, neighbor and friend, I believe the one she loved most was “Grandma Shelly.”

Graveside services will be held at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Chatham, Michigan on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. with Rev. Leslie Niemi officiating.  Shelly will be buried at the same time as her stepmother, Alice Trelford. 

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