Michele (Cannon) Vladyka

Michele (Cannon) Vladyka
May 25, 1944 - February 18, 2014

TOWNSEND, MASSACHUSETTS -- Michele (Cannon) Vladyka, 69, of Townsend, passed away on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014, at the UMass Medical Center in Worcester. She was born in San Francisco, California and raised in San Marino, California, daughter of the late Jack & Dorothy (Williams) Lawlor. Born Linda Michele Lawlor, she preferred Michele as an adult.

A resident of Townsend for nearly 30 years, she was married July 13, 2010, at the Townsend Senior Center to her partner of 25 years, Stanley Vladyka.

Michele gave consistently and enthusiastically of her time for her community. She served on the Townsend Conservation Commission for 11 years, 5 as Chair. She served on the Townsend Board of Health for three years. She was Chair of the Townsend Housing Authority, and helped to spearhead the drive for the first Habitat for Humanity home in Townsend. She spent countless hours rewriting the Townsend Wetland Bylaw Rules and Regulations. She was also on the Town Properties Committee for four years, the Community Preservation Act Study Committee for two years, the Master Plan Committee for three years and a member of the Recycling Committee for more than a decade.

After leaving her job as Credit Manager at Energy North in Manchester, NH, Michele turned her interest in organic gardening into her own business, Mother Earth. True to form, she shared her knowledge with her community by offering workshops to a variety of audiences, including library groups, watershed organizations and conservation commissions. She consistently worked to raise community awareness of our environment by organizing and participating in Townsend's Earth Day event. She never met a plant she didn't like.

Prior to moving to Townsend in 1984, Michele served as founder, treasurer and president of Neighbor Helping Neighbor, a non-profit company in New Hampshire that provided people with low income with home utility assistance. She also served on a Board of Directors of Security Deposit Loan Fund of Greater Manchester that assisted low-income families with housing counseling and budgeting skills.

While raising her two daughters as a single mother Michele's home was always a welcoming respite for her daughter's friends. It was a place they were welcome to gather, a haven for many during turbulent teenage years. Though not without rules, her home was a place of unquestioning support for those who needed it. Michele would listen if you wanted to talk, advise if advice was sought, step back if space was needed. Michele even went so far as to take in a number of kids at times when they had no place else to go, aiding them in getting to school or looking for work, and providing invaluable love and support to assist them in getting their lives back on a positive track. So lasting was her effect on their lives that many whose lives she had touched (her 'other children') came together to surprise her on her 60th birthday.

Michele was a loving mother, grandmother, and sister. She is survived by her daughters Sherene Raisbeck of Acton, MA and Bridget (Cannon) Cooper of Glastonbury, CT, five grandchildren Jack, Jessica, Anna, Elena, and Alden, sister Joan Malis of Lake Forest, CA, brother Greg Lawlor and his partner Rosemary Caddy of San Diego, CA, sister-in-law Diane Lewis of Balboa Island, two nephews, six nieces and a number of cousins. She was predeceased by husbands Stan Vladyka, Jerry Cannon and Lou Sudduth, and a brother, Jim Lawlor.

VLADYKA -- A Memorial Service will be held in May to celebrate her life. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to the Nature Conservancy. Donations can be made by phone at 1(800) 628-6860 or by sending the gift, along with a note, to: The Nature Conservancy. Attn: Treasury, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA

22203-1606.

Published in Nashoba Publishing on Mar. 7, 2014