Michelle L. M. James


Michelle L M James (61), of Hammondsport, NY and Stuart, FL, passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on December 12, 2023, following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Michelle was born on May 31, 1962, in Bridgeport Connecticut to the late Norman Raymond Ray and Lucille Ann Paul Myrick.

She graduated from Nonnewaug High School, Woodbury CT, in 1980 where she was a passionate equestrian. She went on to study at the University of Connecticut Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture, where she graduated with an associate degree in animal science. She spent much of her career caring for animals as a vet technician and running a professional dog grooming business before moving to Owen Sound, Ontario where she resided for 23 years. She eventually became a dual citizen.

In Owen Sound, she was co-proprietor and owner of a local business, known to some as The Bowl. While there, she learned to sail the waters of the Georgian Bay with her very special yacht club friends and became co-owner of the s/v Seabbatical.

Michelle purchased the s/v Freedom in December 2009 and docked it in Florida where she would holiday and eventually meet her long-time partner, Freeman Smith. They enjoyed spending time with each other and family and friends on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes of New York and in Stuart, Florida.

Michelle loved to master all crafts and had many hidden talents. She was a stained-glass artist and operated a studio in her home. She would often donate her artwork to an annual charitable auction benefitting the local chamber of commerce. She was one of a kind, as unique as they get, and loved by many.

Michelle was preceded in death by longtime partner, Freeman Holmes Smith III (July 2023), and is survived by brothers; Norman R. Myrick Jr. (Cheryl) of Albany, Georgia, and David S. Myrick Sr. (Betty) of Southbury, Connecticut, Nephew; David S. Myrick Jr. Pete (Carolyn) of Woodbury, CT and Niece; Melissa Wildman (Ken) of Southbury, CT. She will also be missed by her extended family; Russell B. Smith Sr. Rusty (Eiron), and their children; Whitney E. and Russell B. Jr. Bradley Smith.

The family would like to thank everyone that supported Michelle, including the wonderful staff at CareFirst and her two devoted friends Becky and Lisa. A combined Celebration of Life for Michelle and Freeman will be held in Stuart Florida in February of 2024.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Finger Lakes SPCA, 72 Cameron Street, Bath NY, the Florida Oceanographic Costal Center, 890 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart, FL. or to CareFirst, 305 Meads Creek Rd., Painted Post, NY