Website of Laura Holder
september 27 2007

Remembering Zella

Zella Mae Michener began her journey in life on a small farm in Smithfield, Ohio, September 27, 1907. She was the first born daughter of James and Marth Jane (Mae) Mehollin. Her sister Velma was born seven years later. She lives in Georgia, but has been a frequent visitor to Fredericksburg to see Zella.

As a young child, Zella loved reading and riding her horse. She rode her horse to school, and even rode in a few County Fair races. A good student, Zella excelled in school and was Valedictorian of her graduating class. She enrolled at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio and graduated with her Teacher's certification.

Zella returned to Smithfield to teach scool, and met the new math teacher, Robert (Bob) C. Michener. They became good friends, fell in love, and got married on May 24, 1932. They stayed in Smithfield for three years until Bob took a teaching position in West Alexandria, in south-western Ohio.

This began a new chapter in Bob and Zella's life. Their three children were born while they lived in West Alexandria. Marth Sue arrived first, followed one year later by twins John Robert (Jack) and Janice Nelle. Now, if they thought their life was idyllic and peaceful, they were soon to learn that three babies under the age of one could change that a bit. But Zella, with her exceptional organzational skills, and a lot of help from Bob, met the challenge. With three fully active toddlers, live was never boring. But the house was immaculate and meals were great. Zella even managed to get in her famous 20 minute afternoon nap. Zella worked with the Girl Scouts, going on nature walks observing birds and wildflowers. This started a lifelong love of nature study.

In 1946, the war had just ended and housing was scarce, especially for families. Bob was hired by a small junior college in terrell, Texas. He took the position because it sounded exciting, and housing came with the job. They stayed 3 years in Terrell. Then Bob took a job as a Supervisor of Music in the Midland public schools, and eventually became Principal. Zella did some substiute teaching, and then accepted a position as school secretary. Their love of music, birds, and flowers led to many enjoyable hours of listening, observing, and traveling. Zella knew most of the Texas wildflowers by name and could identify hundreds of birds. They lived in Midland from 1949 to 1975 when they retired.

On to another adventure, Bob and Zella packed up and moved one more time to Fredericksburg, Texas. Bob and Zella became active in the Methodist Church, the Retired Teachers, Music Club, and the Garden Club. Zella was active in the DAR, serving as president. They traveled to Europe several times, went to Alaska, and took many vacation trips across the United States in their camper.

Zella died September 11, 2007, 2 weeks shy of her 100th birthday. As her pastor said, she made it to September, so as far as we're concerned, she made it to 100. Bob died January 15, 1989.