In Memory

Michele Ricard

9/29/1962 - 11/30/2017

Michele T. Ricard, Omaha, preceded in death by father, Lyle; mother, Mary; sister, Denise.  Survived by fiancé, Paul Yahnke, sons, Danny and Zach; sisters, Yvonne and Marie; brothers: Lyle, Brian, Greg, and Michael; aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends.

Michele was a beloved figure at North High Magnet School, as a curriculum specialist and teacher since 2004. She was the baby sister in a family with eight siblings. She grew up in Northridge, California and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  She excelled in school, graduating from the University of Kansas and then receiving her Master’s in Science from the University of Nebraska Lincoln.  Her warmth and sense of humor were appreciated by all who knew her.  Her love of teaching and adventure took her to many interesting places in her life, but none so fascinating as where she rests in the Lord now.  Her sons, Danny and Zach, will especially miss the love of a caring mother.  Her fiancé, Paul will miss the love of a beautiful smile.

A Celebration of Michele’s life will take place Sunday, December 10th, from 2pm to 4pm at Omaha North High School.

North High educator Michele Ricard, 55, 'was dedicated, determined, passionate about anything she got into'

By Erin Duffy / World-Herald staff writer

Dec 9, 2017

Michele Ricard didn’t do things halfway.

It wasn’t enough to run a race — she wanted to win, too. She had climbed the ranks in teaching and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees but still took graduate classes during her summer break to work toward her goal of becoming a high school principal.

After long days working as a curriculum specialist at Omaha North High School, she relaxed by swimming, bicycling and paddle boarding.

“She was dedicated, determined, passionate about anything she got into,” said her fiancé, Paul Yahnke. “She was just kind of unstoppable.”

Ricard, 55, died Nov. 30 of a brain aneurysm.

Her sons, Zack Ricard and Danny Schluck, remember a fun-loving, dedicated mother who was endlessly curious about the world around her and eager to try new things.

“She was very loving, selfless, caring, beautiful and spontaneous sometimes,” Zack Ricard said.

She dove into planning and organizing family trips and dreamed up ideas for family businesses they’d run together after she retired from the Omaha Public Schools. Zack Ricard lives in Omaha, and Schluck lives in New York City.

“She’d move heaven and earth to get her kids together and with her,” Schluck said.

Yahnke called her a “gentle pit bull.” She refused to allow him to hire someone for a kitchen renovation project, instead teaching herself how to strip and refinish cabinets.

She liked finding new recipes and whipping up feasts for the two of them to enjoy.

Ricard grew up in Northridge, California, and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the seventh of eight children. She had her first son young and worked for years as a server and bartender to put herself through school, graduating from the University of Kansas and then receiving a master’s in science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

She found her calling in teaching science. Ricard had worked at North High since 2004, teaching physics and other classes. She eventually became a curriculum specialist in charge of science and art.

She challenged her students to build environmentally friendly model houses using alternative energy sources and traveled to South America with a group of scientists to bring back ideas she could use in her classroom.

A celebration of her life is scheduled at North High on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

She also is survived by sisters Yvonne Hartnett and Marie Garvin and brothers Lyle, Brian, Greg and Michael Porter.