Michele J. Popko, 67, passed away on August 20, 2021 with Peter Anthony Popko, Jr., her husband of over46 years, by her side.
She was born in Norwich, CT and raised by her parents, Jack and Alice Faulkner, in Old Mystic, CT. Starting in 1975, she spent 27 years as a faithful Coast Guard officer’s wife living in Hawaii twice, New York City twice, Florida, Maryland, and Virginia. Prior to moving to The Villages in 2015, they lived in Barrington, Rhode Island for 18 years.
Michele is survived by her husband; her sister, Karen Williams, of Port St. Lucie, FL; and her two children who she loved dearly: Steven Popko of West Warwick, RI, and Marie Popko of Nashville, TN.
Michele was a fearless, self-taught, professional artist. Her artwork can be found in homes across the country as wall murals, canvasses, custom-painted furniture, glassware, platters, and watercolors. She painted sets for a musical theater production and decorated the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI, for a Christmas season. She painted her last mural at Lake Deaton United Methodist Church.
She was known for her generosity; always willing to give a gift of her art work to a friend, to support a charity; or to share her extensive knowledge of art in a classroom setting or one on one.
Her art was her passion but she also directed that passion toward other pursuits as a gourmet cook, a golf course club champion, an art teacher, president of a garden club, president of an officers’ wives club and even as a Cub Scout Den Mother. She traveled across the USA and to the Far East and Europe with friends and family learning about local art and cuisine which influenced her art work and cooking.
She was a genuine friend with a loving and open heart: adventurous, spontaneous, and spirited.
Michele’s ashes will be interred at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL. Her family is planning Celebration of Life gatherings in The Villages and in Connecticut in the coming months.
Donations in Michele’s name may be made to Hope for Justice (www.hopeforjustice.org) whose mission is to bring an end to modern slavery by preventing exploitation, rescuing victims, restoring lives, and reforming society.