Michele Lynn Salvatore
March 1, 1970 – October 13, 2021
Michele passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer on October 13, 2021.
A lifelong Drumhellerite, she was born and raised in Drumheller and enjoyed an idyllic childhood as big sister to her 4 brothers (Brad Bilson, Paul Salvatore, Todd Bilson and Curt Bilson) in the family home on Cedar Crescent. She was also blessed to have 3 step-sisters (Natalie Dahl, Kelly Lowrey and Annette Stuckey) that helped shape her life.
Following high school at DVSS, Michele attended the University of Calgary where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (Co-operative Education) and grew her love for public service while on work terms in Ottawa, Calgary and Red Deer.
Following University, she moved to Red Deer for several years until she joined the staff of Drumheller Valley Secondary School (DVSS) where she would work for 24 years as a Family Resource Worker and Registered Social Worker.
In 2004 she became the proud mother of her daughter, Maya. From this point forward she dedicated the rest of her life to making sure Maya had every opportunity to grow and shine. Nothing made her prouder than to see Maya develop and nothing made her happier than to see Maya doing all of the things that helped her grow and enjoy life. Being a mother to Maya was Michele’s greatest gift.
While at DVSS her care and compassion continued to grow. She was able to connect with hundreds of students over the years and by doing so she changed many lives for the better. Her colleagues, students and parents from the school community admired her passion for making sure that students got the support that they needed to overcome life’s obstacles. Michele did her work with a generous, open heart and it brought her great joy to provide the support that set students up for a better future. In this way, she made a real difference in helping students in need. The impact Michele made was in many cases life changing and in fact - lifesaving. Michele understood the power of connection and she never gave up in helping students to move forward.
She was a lynchpin at annual events at DVSS, in particular International Day where she made sure that hundreds of students from abroad were made to feel more at home, while they were in Drumheller. She extended this caring by opening her home as a host to Raul (Spain) and Oliseh (Nigeria) for a year that she truly cherished.
When Michele lost her mother Wendy Bilson in October of 2018, she was devastated but she continued to move forward at work and at home. When she was diagnosed with cancer in June 2020 Michele undertook an incredible battle but always remained optimistic and focused on making sure that Maya had everything that she needed despite often challenging circumstances related to the condition of her health. She also made sure that no one felt her pain. Her laughter and humour endured to the very end, as she always wanted to lighten the emotional load of those around her.
She is survived by her father Michael, step-mother Barb, daughter Maya, brothers, sisters aunts, uncles and many friends near and far. Despite all of the challenges, her spouse Mark Bieganek was with her to the end.
A public memorial / celebration of Michele’s life will take place at Badlands Community Facility and simultaneously be streamed on Zoom on Sunday, October 24, 2021, at 2:00pm.
All in attendance in person will be required to show proof of vaccination, wear a face-covering and follow all Covid-19 protocols as per current provincial requirements.
The family requests that donations be made in lieu of flowers to the Canadian Cancer Society or any charity of your choice. Courtney-Winter’s Funeral Homes are in care of the arrangements.
Those attending the service for Michele, will have to show proof of vaccine, and wear a mask for entry, also those attending please wear bright colours in Honour of Michele.
Vimeo Livestream link, please note this will be available just prior to service on Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 2:00 P.M.