Michelle Andrea Guardian

Green Bay – “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as they are.” Luke18:16

A child with a soul of eternal innocence, Michelle Andrea Warden was joyfully welcomed into heaven by Jesus, and her mom and dad, on April 3, 2022, after a recent diagnosis of CHF and several bouts of pneumonia, taking with her a piece of our hearts. Michelle was born November 27, 1963 to Francis (2011) and Martha (2008) Warden and immediately taught everyone who interacted with her the meaning of unconditional love, resilience, and yes, even patience.

Born with Down Syndrome, Michelle began early intervention therapy as a toddler to help with mobility and speech. She was a sweet, happy child who never met someone she didn’t love, with a smile and a hug as a reward. She attended Jefferson School until fifth grade, Ecumenical School, then Aspiro, a day service center helping people with disabilities live their best lives, offering arts and crafts, teaching computer skills and gainful employment opportunities. Michelle has been with Aspiro for over 35 years and has done many different jobs…counting and packing items, tying macrame hammocks, folding and labeling t-shirts. She sometimes volunteered at Paul’s Pantry, such as transferring eggs from large crates to smaller cartons, and when asked… “No, I didn’t break any.” She was always so proud of her paychecks, saving for her dream vacation, a Disney cruise.

She loved hanging latches and gave many finished projects as gifts. She enjoyed spending time with her niece Amy, taking her to the movies, eating out and playing pool. Michelle was a pretty decent pool player. Michelle loved music and dancing, and was often seen with her headphones on, moving to the music, talking and laughing with her “secret friend”. Niece Tarra took her karaoke to sing a few times, usually singing her favorite song, Dancing Queen. She sang this song at many family weddings, not afraid to stand up in front of a crowd. She also loved old TV shows like ‘Chips’, ‘Hart to Hart’ and ‘Falcon Crest’, not for the stories but for the handsome stars, Eric Estrada, Robert Wagner, Lorenzo Lamas and David Selby. Often, if you were somewhere with her, she’d go ‘HubaHuba’ if a handsome guy was walking by.

Michelle has had quite a few exciting adventures. When they lived with his mother and father, they rarely went anywhere without taking him, visiting friends, siblings and other relatives. When she was 25, they went to visit Liz in South Carolina, then Florida at Disney World, then Mississippi for Mary and Ron’s wedding. Years later, she also traveled to California with her sister Rose and niece Tarra to visit Disney Land. While there, Tarra arranged a meeting at a restaurant with Eric Estrada, who was Michelle’s No. 1 crush while watching “Chips.” He arrived in his hot car, talked with her and gave her a kiss. It was a most memorable day for her.

She usually spent a few weeks each year with Marge and Jim, making homemade pasta, having great meals and seeing shows. They taught him the importance of good “wine” tasting. She picked up her glass of wine, swirled and sniffled, then tasted and exclaimed “Fabulous.” She loved visiting cemeteries…not ordinary cemeteries, but those that housed huge monuments of both human and animal life. She also enjoyed going to car shows and riding in Jim’s restored Thunderbird. Liz and Norm along with Michelle visited Mary in Ohio a few times a year, enjoying new restaurants and parks, exploring the Amish countryside and interesting shops. While spending time with Rose and Joe up north, Joe taught her how to fish, which she loved to do. Aspiro sometimes had fishing trips and she always looked forward to going.

Michelle lived the first 48 years of her life with her mother and father. After they passed away, her sister Liz became her guardian and caregiver and together with Liz’s husband, Norm, gave her a wonderful, loving and comfortable home. We express our gratitude to Liz and Norm and ask God’s blessing upon them for their years of care, especially over the past two years in the face of Covid restrictions and Michelle’s failing health.

Michelle is survived and will be sadly missed by her siblings: Mary Kelley, Jeromesville, OH; Joe and Peggy Warden, Suamico; Anne Rich, Neenah; Liz and Norm Pagel, Suamico; Marge and Jim Massarello, Oak Park, Ill.; sister-in-law Pam (Paul) Mattick, Green Bay; Rose Smits, Green Bay; Jim and Kristy Warden, Greenleaf, and Pete and Jan Warden, Green Bay, and loads of nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews. Also Andrea Pociask, her longtime caregiver, who took Michelle on many enjoyable outings.

In addition to her parents, Michelle was predeceased by a brother, John; sisters-in-law Karen Warden and Joan Warden; brothers-in-law Ron Kelley and Joe Smits; plus BFF and many prom dates, Joey Pivonka.

Visitation will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason St. A vigil will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Visitation will continue from 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, 650 S. Irwin. A Christian burial mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at the church with Fr. Finian Zaucha OFM as arbiter. Entombment will take place at the Mausoleum of the Chapelle d’Allouez. To send your condolences online, visit www.prokowall.com. A memorial fund will be established in Michelle’s name, to benefit the Aspiro Endowment Fund and St. Mary’s Education.

Posted on April 07, 2022

Published in the Green Bay Press Gazette

service information

Visitation

Proko-Wall Funeral Home 1630 E. Mason St. Green Bay

April 12, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

funeral

St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church 650 S. Irwin Green Bay

April 13, 2022 at 11:00

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