Michelle “Shelley” Habermann
I was born in Houston, Texas on Ellington Air Force Base, which is now the NASA Space Center. Both of my parents were born and raised in Massillon, Ohio, which is where we returned after my dad got out of the Air Force. I spent the better part of my youth growing up here in Massillon, attending St. Mary Elementary School and Canton Central Catholic High School. I was the second class to graduate in the 4-year Honors Program at CCHS. I was a Girl Scout from Brownies through Senior Scouts. I also volunteered as a candy-striper at Massillon City Hospital for four years during high school. I attended The Ohio State University where I received a B.S. in Business Administration with emphasis on Accounting. During college, I joined Alpha Xi Delta, where I served as President my Senior year.
Upon graduation, I went to work at Peoples Services, Inc. as an Accountant. I am currently on their Board of Directors, have been the Corporate Secretary for 46 years, and am part of the Management Team. I married my husband in January 1986 and moved to Strongsville, Ohio. My husband had a son, Joey, from a previous marriage, who I later adopted. Together, we had a daughter Liz. Liz was bipolar. Despite years of therapy and medication, we lost her to suicide when one of her medicines was changed and had the opposite effect. I lost my husband to cancer 2-½ years after our daughter’s death. Both losses greatly affected both myself and our son, Joey. After Joe’s death, I was asked to move back here to Massillon to work at Corporate again. Without my family, friends and faith, I would have not made it through. My son had a harder time adjusting from all the changes to his life.
My cousin, Teresa Grossweiler, also lost her son a few years ago. Through Teresa, I was introduced to Light After Loss and have started my journey to become an active part in this organization, hoping I can help others as I was helped in my time of need.
I currently serve on several other committees, Mercy Service League, Central Catholic High School Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Committee, and Divine Mercy Parish Finance Council. I have always been taught to give back where I am able. In this time of bullying, unwanted isolation during COVID-19, and political division, now more than ever, we need support groups such as Light After Loss.