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Wednesday, August 2, 2023
6:00 - 8:00pm (Mountain time)
Michelle Driggs South passed away July 20, 2023 surrounded by her family. Michelle was born August 12, 1986 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Jeff and Dianne Driggs.
Michelle was a curious and adventurous child who liked to climb trees, ride bikes, and play with dolls. On some days Michelle dressed up like GI Joe and on other days she looked like the latest fashion statement. At a very early age, Michelle was drawn to animals and wanted to create her own animal sanctuary as she tried to save the injured birds and reptiles while on her adventures around the neighborhood and in the mountains. One of her most notable projects took her deep into the cause of saving endangered animals. Her favorite pets were a cockatiel named “Crackers,” an African Grey Parrot named “Dobi” and a cute little dog named “Booner.”
Michelle was an exceptional writer and could craft almost any subject into an engaging and clever piece. Her quick wit and ability to unearth the hidden gems were what made her work unique. In high school she wrote for the school newspaper and in college found opportunities to write and edit for some of her favorite online publications.
After graduating from high school, Michelle moved to Virginia where she attended a small liberal arts university. She immediately became immersed in student life and fell in love with the close-knit intellectual community that she traveled, studied and played with. Her time in Virginia was tragically cut short when she was involved in a serious automobile accident. During her recovery, Michelle returned to Utah where she attended UVU and eventually earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Music is a great example of the embodiment of emotions and this is where Michelle found her peace. Michelle’s passion for music and dance extended across all genres. We weren’t surprised that music was written into Michelle’s love story or that she fell in love on the dance floor the day she met Justin. Justin & Michelle shared six wonderful years together. These years and times were the highlight of Michelle’s life and during this time they welcomed their beautiful baby boy, Jesse. Michelle immediately embraced motherhood, and was so proud of her perfect Jesse boy. Jesse has many of his mom’s wonderful qualities.
The story of Michelle wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the struggles that plagued Michelle throughout her life. She suffered multiple brain injuries and setbacks that resulted in chronic pain and emotional and physical trauma. Michelle fought fiercely to function and live a meaningful life surrounded by those she loved. During this time Michelle was able to experience some wonderful moments – the kind that “take your breath away” (as Michelle would say) However, over the past seven years, Michelle’s addictions and struggles became insurmountable and ultimately led to her death.
“No language can express the power and beauty and heroism of a mother's love.” We witnessed this kind of love from Michelle in her final year of life. She brought forth her beautiful daughter Willow River Ebony. Michelle felt strongly that she needed to carry her Willow to life. This was an incredible and beautiful sacrifice and act of love as Michelle gave birth to Willow and placed her in the loving arms of her adoptive family- the McGinty’s. Michelle was so proud of Willow River Ebony, and will live on through her daughter.
Michelle was a beautiful, adventurous, free spirited soul. When we are watching movies we will be reminded of her contagious laugh that flowed so freely. When we go to the Cabin, Beaver Mountain or Lake Powell, we will be reminded of our girl who jumped head first into any adventure or daring feat. Every sunset will remind us of how she loved to watch the ribbons of color paint the sky and help her connect with her higher power . The memory of her striking eyes, intelligent mind, and her captivating personality will never be forgotten.
Michelle had a deep love for her Savior, Jesus Christ, and spoke of Him often. While, we feel some peace that Michelle is out of her suffering and in the loving arms of her Savior, we will forever feel the sadness of her absence.
We love you Shelzy!
Michelle is survived by her two beautiful children, Jesse Justin South and Willow River Ebony McGinty, her parents, Jeff & Dianne Driggs, Jesse’s father Justin South, siblings Jason (Annie) Driggs, Emily (Evan) McFarland and Nate (Emily) Driggs and nieces and nephews Ella, Jack, Charlotte, Crew, Gavin, Isabelle, Olivia, Amelia, and Andrew.
An open house visitation is scheduled for the evening of August 2nd from 6-8 pm at the Anderson & Goff Mortuary at 11859 S 700 E in Draper, UT.
The family will also be holding a private memorial in honor of Michelle at Red Butte Garden, one of Michelle’s happy places.