Michelle Marie Sibenaller Fallahi, age 62 of Pine City, Minnesota, passed away on Saturday June 11, 2022, at hospice care in St Paul, MN. Michelle was born on July 14th, 1959, in Austin, MN the 4th of 7 children: the proud daughter of Greg and Clara Sibenaller. She attended Blooming Prairie High School then received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1981. She was fortunate and proud enough to work 40 years in the insurance and reinsurance business and retired as a respected leader in her field, known professionally for her reason, pragmatism, and notorious sense of humor.
Michelle was united in marriage to Hamid Fallahi in Blooming Prairie, MN in 1984 and they lived in the Cottage Grove, MN area for 30 years. Michelle and Andy Lieffort were engaged in the fall of 2021.
Michelle fulfilled her lifelong dream of owning a lake home in Pine City, MN. On the shores of Cross Lake, Michelle amassed a treasure of memories. Each of these golden days were strung together with pontoon happy hours, card games, bike rides, campfires, great meals, kids, dogs, laughter, and love.
Michelle loved kids of all ages and they loved her, in return. She spent a tremendous amount of her spare time cooking, driving, grooming, cheering, and basking in the presence of kids. She was firm yet affirming. Her life was deeply, gratefully impacted by all who gravitated to her seeking her loving guidance and unconditional acceptance.
Michelle also valued life experiences. “Doing things is more important than having things” was one of the tenets by which she lived. Michelle traveled to all fifty states and 31 countries. She approached travel as she did life, with an open mind. Michelle also enjoyed live music, driving Sharon to the casino, Gopher football and the ‘high holidays’ (Halloween and St. Patty’s). Above all, Michelle loved a good party, particularly if dancing was involved.
To be Michelle was to keep it real. Even when diagnosed with terminal cancer, she did not waver - Michelle kept it real. After life dealt her the fateful blow of Glioblastoma, Michelle decided she would die just as she lived. She threw an epic party. She took her family to Italy. She gave all she had to give. She lived an unpretentious life, choosing a path of gratitude, humility, and happiness.
Survivors include her beloved children, Serena Fallahi Tittl, Cameron Fallahi, Craig Buggs, Shady Salamon, Kat Ubl and Nima Nickooii. As Michelle was never very traditional in her life, it made perfect sense that she would not add to her family in just the traditional sense. Some children were added by birth and others by luck and love. “I gave birth to you, but you came with no instructions. All I knew was that I loved you long before I saw you. I know I’ve made mistakes and for that I am sorry, but I was doing the best I could with what I knew. Everything I did for you I did from love. You are my child, my life, my dreams for tomorrow. I will always LOVE you and there is nothing that could ever destroy my love for you.” Author unknown
Michelle is also survived by her beloved siblings all of whom she loved fiercely; Corrine (Steve) Drexler, Connie Trom, Lynn (Denise) Sibenaller, Tom (Karen) Sibenaller, Mary Koenen, and Mark (Nancy) Sibenaller. Hamid Fallahi first husband and later friend, and Andy Lieffort; her later in life blessing she considered her life partner.
To all of Michelle’s survivors, of whom there are many, the chasm she leaves behind feels enormous. However, may these words offer solace:
I will cherish all the friendship I was fortunate to find,
All the love and all the laugher in the place I leave behind.
All these good things will go with me. They will make my spirit glow.
And that light will shine forever in the next place that I go.
-Warren Hanson, The Next Place
A private family service will be held on Monday, June 27 at Kessler & Maguire (640 W. 7th St, St Paul) with a public celebration of Michelle’s life also on Monday, June 27 at Patrick McGovern’s Pub (225 W. 7th St, St Paul) from 3 – 8pm. Memorials preferred to The Blooming Prairie Cancer Group or the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center.