Michelle Royer Willey, a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and the role she cherished most – mother, departed this life peacefully on the morning of Friday July 10, 2020 surrounded by her loved ones in Gilbert, Arizona. Saying she “lost” her battle with cancer would be inaccurate. She fought fiercely for life to survive for her sons, which were her everything. She never gave up and endured well until she was called Home to be in the presence of her Father in Heaven.
Michelle is survived by her sons: Austin, Ethan and Evan; parents, Lamont and Celia Royer; and siblings: Monica, David, Anne Marie and Melissa. She is preceded in death by her brother, Jared.
Michelle was born on July 21, 1968 to Lamont and Celia Royer in Stockton, California, and is their oldest child. She had a wonderful motherly nature even as a child and later teenager. Michelle protected her younger siblings, especially her rambunctious younger brothers who were prone to getting into mischief. To her, loyalty to family came before everything else.
Michelle graduated from Montgomery High School in 1986, where she was a cheerleader and did well in her academic studies. She attended BYU and studied Design and Family Sciences. While living in Provo, she met her future husband, Rick Willey, who was preparing to go to medical school.
On May 25, 1991, Rick and Michelle were sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple and remained married for nearly 25 years. During their time in medical school, Michelle worked, sacrificed and supported her family. She learned how to be frugal and enjoyed being such, an attribute that stayed with her during her entire adult life, even when being prudent was not necessary. Rick’s medical residency and Navy commitments took them to various locations to live as they grew their beautiful family, San Diego, Kailua, Hawaii, Gig Harbor, Washington, and finally Gilbert, Arizona.
Michelle survived cancer once before, which speaks to her strong will and determination to live for her boys. While pregnant with their youngest son, Evan, she had a soft tissue tumor in her leg, multiple surgeries, and a walking boot for three years. Health issues never slowed her pace because she wanted to be there to raise her sons to be kind, loyal, and independent men.
Michelle was a devout Christian and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her life included daily study of Christ’s teachings and the way she cared about and served others reflected her testimony of and commitment to Him. She reveled in the solace and rejuvenation of the Gilbert Temple. She went to the temple frequently and enjoyed going with friends and afterwards discussing, over lunch, the insights she learned to help her become a better mother and friend.
Michelle’s friends adored her because she made each feel like her favorite. Her quick wit and humor were infectious. Sometimes, she would mischievously say what you were thinking, but didn’t want to admit to, making you laugh and know that your authenticity was safe with her. Even in her painful experiences of the last few years of her life, Michelle made us laugh to tears; she preferred those to the ones of sadness.
Michelle had a talent of knowing the needs of her family and friends and would bring them just the right thing to make them smile. Whether it was giving a gift, taking you to lunch, sending a cute text (especially during the holidays) or coming by to help clean your house; it didn’t matter how small or big it was, it was always the perfect thing to let you know she cared about you and was thinking of you. She knew from memory everyone’s birthdays, including her nieces and nephews to whom she showered with love and cards.
Michelle was totally unaware of her stand-out beauty. Her bright, magnetic smile warmed and welcomed anyone that was in the same room as her. Michelle, we know your rich, blue eyes will be watching over us as an angel, just as they did in this life. “Yahoodles Michelle,” you made it Home!
Graveside services will be held Friday, July 17, at 8:30 a.m. at Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 South Dixie Drive, St. George, Utah.
Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221. Visit www.metcalfmortuary.com for condolences, complete obituary and funeral listings.