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Michelle Jean Janin Simone

September 26, 1951 - January 10, 2018

Michelle Jean Janin Simone

September 26, 1951 – January 10, 2018


Eight years after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, Michelle Jean Janin Simone left this world in the early morning. We lost a very bright star. Her brilliance will be terribly missed in this life. Her energy, enthusiasm, vibrancy, generosity, style, laughter and general love of her family, people, life and the community was infectious. And while much had changed with Michelle over the past few years, the occasional smile, the periodic bursts of laughter reminded us of her amazing spirit. She coped with her illness with undeniable grace, unselfish determination and exemplary dignity.


Michelle was raised in Portland, attended Glencoe Grade School, Washington High School, Oregon State University and Portland State University. Most of her career was spent in the retail industry which all started at Zell Bros.  She was a key player in the early days of The Kobos Company before entering an extensive and successful career at Meier & Frank. There she flourished as Meier & Frank’s Home Fashion Director before taking on the role of Public Relations and Events Director. During her time in this role, Michelle drove multiple programs and projects to generate funds for and awareness of various community efforts. She was part of, and in many ways led, a talented and diverse self-proclaimed team known as ’16 Girls and 1 Guy’, whose single initiative was to stimulate donations for select non-profit organizations and establish a sustainable program for continued financial support. After leaving Meier & Frank, Michelle worked in development at the Oregon Historical Society and Oregon Catholic Press before beginning her own agency, with major achievements including planning and executing the opening event efforts of the Portland Chinese Gardens, the Westside Light Rail Project, The Children’s Museum opening, SEI’s 25th Anniversary…the list goes on.


While at Meier & Frank, Michelle and Chris met. They married in 1986. Both would say they were the luckiest people in the world to have met each other. A perfect match. Michelle’s outgoing, mile-a-minute enthusiasm was the perfect complement to Chris’s methodical and somewhat surgical approach to things, a true testament that opposites attract. Together they shared a love for the arts and architecture, with Michelle adding an extensive music library, her exquisite culinary capabilities and a flourishing garden into the mix.  They shared love, laughter, heartbreak, tears, companionship and the world. For their 25th Wedding Anniversary, Chris proposed the idea of a formal celebration with family and friends to mark the occasion, but more importantly, for those close to us to be with Michelle before her health began to further worsen. Given her background, she of course was into every little detail of the event. A commitment made early in their marriage to spend time in Italy finally was realized in summer of 2013. Even with Michelle’s reduced awareness and strength, it was a remarkable and poignant time in their lives. While Chris contemplated taking a hiatus from work to be with her each day, she unselfishly insisted he continue his work life. She contributed immensely to shaping the person he is today, and he will be forever in her debt for those contributions to his life and self being.


Michelle adored their children. She was incredibly devoted and would do anything for her son Joseph, and daughter Brianna. They meant the world to her. And she to them.


She took tremendous pride in Joe’s athletic involvement throughout his childhood and early adult life. Together they shared a fondness and love for a wide range of music, and ‘persuaded’ him to take saxophone lessons. Their combined wit and sense of humor made for a loving, strong relationship. She was so proud of Joe as he finished his education, and in the reading and writings that he crafted and shared with her.


Often, Michelle, Joe and Bri would take their ‘boondoggles’, exploring much of Oregon. Michelle always encouraged the children to enjoy the great outdoors as she did…a love she had beginning with climbing Mt. St. Helens with the Mazamas before it erupted…a significant milestone for her personally.


Michelle and Bri, whom she called her ‘Boo’, would spend hours walking on the beach of Manzanita, pocketing all types of interesting ‘artifacts’. You could see the great pleasure in Michelle’s eyes as she watched Bri during horseback riding lessons, dance lessons, school musicals and their special girls lunch dates. They both loved holidays and laughed hysterically as they carved pumpkins, decorated the Christmas tree, dyed Easter eggs and enjoyed July 4th sparklers and fireworks.


Her constant companion Rowdie accompanied Michelle on runs then walks. Her boy always managed to get her home when her illness worsened and insisted she could walk him alone., He kept her company in the yard and never left the side of her wheel chair when she became unable to get him out for walks.


Michelle had undeniable gratitude for her sister Jayme’s love, compassion, loyalty and care. As sisters do, they shared many stories and moments, past and present, that brought both laughter and tears. As Chris became Michelle’s protector, guardian and provider, Jayme became Michelle’s voice, advocate and supporter.


As many know, Michelle was incredibly devoted to the community, spending countless volunteer hours at Providence Hospital Center for Medically Fragile Children, the Community Transitional School, Dress for Success and Oregon Food Bank’s Learning Gardens before and after being diagnosed. She was committed to this work and proud of her achievements in helping others. In 2013, she dictated a resume of sorts to Chris that she intended to use to present to non-profit organization to encourage volunteer assistance from her in supporting their initiatives. In 2014, she dictated a 25th Anniversary project plan for the Community Transitional School, and presented that plan to the school’s principal with the assistance of a care provider.


A message from a note Joe wrote to Michelle at Christmas in 2013:




You are stronger than you think, and more loved than you think. I one day hope to have touched enough people’s lives as you have formed an equitable legacy. You should be proud of everything you have done and continue to do for those you love, and those for whom you volunteer, who do not have much.                                                                   You inspire me to be great.


Love Joe’


Michelle is survived by her loving family Chris, Joe and Brianna Simone and sister Jayme Janin of Portland, her mother Joan Janin, of Portland, and brother Michael of Beaverton. Michelle is preceded in death by her father, LeRoy ‘Pete’ Janin and brother Peter Janin.


The family is grateful for the love and compassion from the care providers we were fortunate to have assist with Michelle during the past six years. Brendon, Sandy, and Darlene provided daily attention to Michelle’s every need while at home. And for the past year, we thank the dedicated care team at Brookdale Beaverton who saw the special person Michelle was, many went over and above the typical call of duty of providing care.


In lieu of flowers, the family wishes and would appreciate donations in Michelle’s name be made to Community Transition School or Providence Hospital Center for Medically Fragile Children.


A memorial service will be held, Friday January 26th at All Saints Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m.

Service Information

Service Information

Date: Friday, January 26, 2018

Time: 10:30 am

All Saints Catholic Church


3847 NE Glisan St
Portland, Oregon 97232

A memorial service will be held, Friday January 26th at All Saints Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m.

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