In Passing: Michelle Grace (Jewett) Gutierrez

Michelle Grace (Jewett) Gutierrez (1971-2013)

The trapping community mourns the loss of Michelle Gutierrez, volunteer Secretary for the Idaho Trappers Association, who was tragically killed in her home on Aug. 25, 2013.

Michelle grew up in Bruneau, Idaho, and joined the U.S. Navy for four years after graduating from high school. She served aboard the U.S.S. Cape Cod, including a Desert Storm cruise.

She married in 1994 and had two sons, Joseph (19) and Marcus (17). Joseph is currently in the U.S. Navy. Marcus is a high school senior.

Michelle became a POST certified police officer in 1997, briefly serving the city of Mountain Home, Idaho.

Michelle never set a trap to catch a furbearing animal, but her tireless efforts over 13 years as Secretary for the Idaho Trappers Association helped steer the organization to its current success. Michelle was introduced to the ITA by Steve Jewett, her father, and she worked as the secretary through three presidents.

“If any position in the ITA became vacant, Michelle would volunteer for the added responsibility,” Hance Clayton, former president of the ITA, stated. “I had to tell her ‘no’ often, that it was too much for one person.”

Patrick Carney, current president of the ITA agreed.

“Michelle was the first to volunteer to staff any function, and practically the last person standing at the end,” he said.

“I don’t know how the ITA is going to move forward without Michelle, but it has to move forward,” Carney added.

As a step toward recognizing Michelle’s efforts to move the ITA forward, the ITA Board made a bold decision, agreeing to receive fur from trappers for shipment to NAFA. This puts the ITA in position to reach out to thousands of trappers, and makes the ITA an active part of helping trappers get the prices they deserve for their efforts. Michelle’s final ‘yes’ vote as Secretary helped put this in motion.

Michelle will be memorialized in a number of ways in the future in addition to the NAFA agreement. The ITA has committed to a large donation destined for a trust fund established for her sons. ITA officers are also considering a living memorial that will assist women attempting to leave abusive relationships.

Michelle will be missed by friends and family, and the ITA will be hard-pressed to fill the void she leaves behind.

Those who wish to make a monetary contribution to the Gutierrez family may do so by using the PayPal button on the front page of the Idaho Trappers Association website (www.idahotrappersassociation.com). Checks can also be mailed to the ITA, P.O. Box 405, Mountain Home, ID, 83647. All money marked and donated for this purpose will be distributed directly to the surviving family in its time of need.

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