John Frederick Michel


After a battle with cancer, John Frederick Michel died on June 20th, 2016 in Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Son of John Adam (1897-1984) and Elizabeth Schell Michel (1904-2001), John was born in Columbus, Ohio on June 21st, 1933.

John served in the U.S. Army (1955-1956). As a Corporal, he was stationed in Germany and enjoyed participation on the Army Rifle Team. He re-entered The Ohio State University and earned his B.A. (1959) and M.A. (1960) in Speech Science. He received his Ph.D. in Communication Sciences from the University of Florida (1964) and completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship (1965). His area of study was laryngeal function, voice quality, and the professional voice.

Initially a Research Associate in the Bureau of Child Research at the University of Kansas (1965-1990), John joined the faculty in 1970 in Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders and was promoted to Professor in 1974. He retired in 2003 and was awarded emeritus status. John was the recipient of the 1973 HOPE Award (Honor to Outstanding Progressive Educator) presented by the student body of K.U. He was awarded Fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association (1975) and was a member of the International Society of Phonetic Sciences, the American Association of Phonetic Sciences and the Academy for the Forensic Application of Communication Sciences. He was an editorial reviewer for several professional journals and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Voice. He was the recipient of numerous grants, author of numerous publications, and presented numerous papers including an annual presentation at the Voice Foundation Symposia (1973-1994). He served on K.U. administrative committees at the Intercampus, Department and University levels (1968-2015). Many college careers were greatly influenced by his academic advising.

On September 10, 1960, in Flushing, N.Y., John married Lorraine (Lori) June Ivison who survives of the home. Other survivors include daughter Dr. Sharon Green and Doug Green; daughter Leslie Michel and Roger Lippert; grandchildren Karson, John, Kaysha and Jesse Green, Julie Lippert Watkins and Kenny Lippert, and four great-grandchildren. Family in Ohio includes his sister Marilyn and Mark Cordova.

John was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church and a charter member of the Lawrence Breakfast Cosmos (1968-2016). He was chair of a Lawrence task force on Community and Human Relations (1972), member of the Lawrence Traffic and Safety Commission (1979-1986), Lawrence Human Relations Commission (1985-1991), Community Task force on Racism, Discrimination and Human Diversity (1990-1992), and recent member of the Golf Tournament Committee for Family Promise.

John enjoyed golfing, playing racquetball and cribbage, watching his grandtwins play, reading, listening to violin music, traveling, and gatherings of family and friends.

Inurnment will be at Memorial Park in Lawrence. A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, August 25, 2016 at Plymouth Congregational Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Family Promise, Lawrence Breakfast Cosmos, or Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment – Oncology Department and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

In John’s memory, his family invites all to raise a mug of beer to toast his life.

14 Condolences

  1. Pat Bates on June 26, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Laurie, Sharon and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of John’s passing. He always had a warm smile and kind heart to all those he met. I am privileged to have know him. May his memory be a blessing.

  2. George L. Catt on June 28, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    John was an inspiration and a valued friend and companion for almost a half century. May your canoe never tip and may your hands all be
    J 5555 or better. Glissando! George

  3. Larry A on June 29, 2016 at 5:39 am

    John, My Friend, we miss ya already. Rest well and we’ll see you
    again on the other side.

  4. The Diedrich Family on June 29, 2016 at 10:00 am

    On behalf of my father, mom and myself, we were very sad to hear of John’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

  5. Gary Clark on June 29, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Lori, Sharon, and Leslie, I hope you get some inkling of how many students, colleagues, and friends John had. He was a super teacher, mentor, and colleague. I respected him greatly and always enjoyed my interaction with him, professionally and personally. I regret not being able to say goodbye to him but wanted you to know that Jeannie and I are thinking of you now and will continue to in the coming months.

    Sincerely, Gary

  6. Marc Fey on June 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Michel Family:

    John could turn most anything into a situation worthy of a laugh, and I’ll miss him most for his sense of humor. Although I’m sure he was quite a golfer in his earlier days, in recent years when he could still play, he struggled valiantly to beat me out for the title of weakest link in our annual Sertoma tournament foursome. No matter how badly we played, though, it never took John more than a beer to get his smile (and his love for the game) back. I’ll be taking the family’s suggestion of hoisting one in his memory tonight.

  7. Tina Rundels Rieder on June 30, 2016 at 7:46 am

    My sincere condolences to Lori, Sharon, Leslie and family. John was a wonderful man and his life will certainly be celebrated. He will be missed.

    Tina Rundels Rieder

  8. Deborah Norwood on June 30, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I was fortunate to be enrolled in Dr. Michel’s speech science course back in the 70s. Arriving early to class was a bonus since Dr. Michel would usually be sharing a funny story or some interesting trivia before his lecture began. He made class interesting and made sure the material was understood by the class before moving on. I’ve always thought of him as a favorite KU professor.
    My thoughts are with you, Dr. Lori Michel and family.

  9. Goody Garfield on July 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Lori–what a kind, funny, warmhearted man. And generous too. He added at least 10 years to my racquetball life by allowing me to come close to winning and even doing that once in every 63 games. Just thinking of him brings a smile.

  10. jim and jane budde on July 2, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Lori, we met you and John in the early 70s at the Copeland’s. You were an attractive and fun loving couple who remained that way over time. It was always great to see you at the Farmer’s Market, a play, a retired faculty dinner, and who knows where else.

    John was a guy you just had to like. That big smile would get to anyone and he would make immediate friends. His students loved him. One of those students was our daughter Anne Budde Broz. John was a major influence on her life. And she loved talking to him and even taking his advice.

    I wish that there was more we could do. But one thing is sure, we’d hate to have gone through life without knowing John and that big smile.

    Jim and Jane

  11. Bertha on July 20, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I don’t know who you wrote this for but you helped a brtheor out.

  12. Ellen Fahrion on August 30, 2016 at 7:49 am

    To the Michel Family,

    Please accept my deepest sympathy in the passing of John. As we lose more and more of our class of 1951 South High Bulldog grads, I read with interest and amazement their life stories. Although we spread out across the country, each seems to have made wonderful contributions in their chosen fields. Most led llives of service. It speaks well of our generation. John certainly was a prime example. You must be very proud. God bless you and keep you in his care.

    Ellen Fahrion

  13. Patt Snyder on August 30, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Lori & Family,
    I am so sorry to learn of John’s passing.Thank You for contacting me.
    He has many friends and classmates from his graduating class at
    South High School. He must have been a wonderful inspiration to
    his students. He loved what he was doing and it showed.
    We will all take the family’s advice and hoist a mug of beer in
    John’s memory and the celebration of his LIFE.
    John Michel is entertaining HEAVEN with a beautiful violin concert.
    He is at Peace and he is smiling. Patt Snyder

  14. Columbus South High Alumni Association on December 4, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    The South High School Alumni Association and its Board of Directors want to express our sympathy and send condolences at the death of your loved one. Our entire South High School family is diminished by his passing.
    (I apologize for the delay, but we were just informed of his passing.)

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