September 15, 1946 - August 14, 2021 Michelle Azar-Valentine, 74, passed away on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at her home in Palos Verdes Estates in the arms of her husband of 44 years while overlooking the Santa Monica Bay which she loved. During her seven-week battle with pancreatic cancer, she was a remarkable warrior and, despite the pain, never complained and remained positive and strong until the end. Michelle left this world with the same grace and dignity with which she lived her life.Michelle was the first of three children, born September 15, 1946 in Hollywood, California to Raymond and Eleanor Azar. She graduated from Palos Verdes High School in 1964, where she was known for her infectious smile, friendly nature and upbeat disposition. Michelle graduated cum laude from UCLA where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. It was at UCLA that she met her husband, Bob Valentine. Upon graduation, Michelle was awarded a teaching assistantship with Chapman University's World Campus Afloat. She characterized this trip around the globe as her greatest educational experience, and international travel became a hallmark of the rest of her life. Despite earning her Master of Science degree at cross-town rival, University of Southern California, her allegiance to UCLA remained steadfast.Michelle joined Hughes Aircraft Co (later Raytheon), then headquartered in Southern California, soon after her post-graduate education. She retired as a human resources director in 2003 while living in Northern Virginia. Her determination and enthusiasm didn't stop with her career, however, and her power to touch those around her continued in diverse directions after retirement. Perhaps, the most rewarding part of her retirement was volunteering, together with her husband, at Habitat for Humanity
of Washington DC where she was recognized for her outstanding volunteer service and leadership in the construction of 53 homes in the Northeast Parcel. The relationships she developed over the years with the various groups of Americorps volunteers who staffed the construction sites proved even more gratifying. Michelle loved learning from these young people, making treats and entertaining them in her home on weekends; she soon became known as the "Ameri-mom". Many of these connections grew stronger over the years and she enjoyed being involved in their growing families.Like her father who predeceased her in 2020, Michelle was proud of her culinary sophistication, and her own cooking was legendary. She and her husband were devoted to the well-being of her parents throughout her life. All who knew Michelle will miss her flawless comic timing, her beauty, her laugh, her intelligence and her culinary delights. She loved to entertain and brought sunshine everywhere she went. A life well-lived, Michelle Azar-Valentine burned brightly in her sphere of influence. May her memory forever be a blessing. A celebration of her remarkable life will be held at a later date.Michelle would prefer any donations in her memory go to either Habitat for Humanity
of Greater Washington D.C. or Tunnels To Towers Foundation Smart Home Program to improve homes for disabled veterans.
Published by Los Angeles Times on Sep. 12, 2021.