Cover photo for Michelle Lee Hynek's Obituary
Michelle Lee Hynek Profile Photo

Michelle Lee Hynek

March 13, 1974 — February 12, 2024

Michelle Lee Hynek, a woman of unwavering strength and grace, passed away on Monday, February 12, 2024, surrounded by an enormous amount of love and her family by her side.  Michelle, 49, courageously battled cancer, defying all odds for over four years with a resilience and determination that inspired everyone fortunate enough to witness her journey.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, February 29, at the Kloppenberg Center in Hanover.   

A rosary service will be held at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, at St. John's Catholic Church in Hanover.  

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 a.m., Friday, March 1, at St. John's Catholic Church.  Father David Metz will officiate.  The musicians will be Janet Fritschi and Kim Zimmerman.  Music will include, "Be Not Afraid", "Prayer of St. Francis", "I Am the Bread of Life", "Ave Maria" and "On Eagles Wings."

Burial will be at St. John's Catholic Cemetery in Hanover. 

The family invites everyone to attend all services and celebrate Michelle’s life; including the rosary, mass, and burial.  

Michelle was born on March 13, 1974 to Janis (Hogue) O’Bryan and Larry Hynek in Manhattan, Kansas, Michelle spent early years across Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Jersey and Illinois. She graduated from Lincoln Way High School in Frankfort, IL in 1992, later attending the University of Illinois before heading off to California in 1994.  She remained in Southern California for the rest of her life, except for the one year she spent in Italy in 1997, where she worked as a fit model and where many of her lifelong friendships were born.

Michelle, affectionately known as “BIG,” had a carefree love for life that was evident in all of her passions, her friendships and the way in which she moved in this world.  She was a fiercely loyal friend to so many and loved to spend time reminiscing about the early and wild days in Los Angeles with those close to her.  She loved to garden and arrange flowers, and her weekly trips to the Farmers Market were a highlight of her week.  She loved to travel, loved to “sizzle” in the sun ( her words), and she always had the best beauty products and hacks.  She was an avid antiques collector, and loved finding treasures when she went home to Kansas at her favorite spot, The Mercantile.  Her car was literally always on empty, and the one place she refused to ever show up to was the dance floor – anyone who knew Michelle knew that she DID NOT DANCE.  But she was still the life of the party, always the last to leave because she was just having too much fun.

Michelle was an absolute force at work as one of LA’s top shoot producers in the entertainment industry for over twenty years.  Zach Crawford of Crawford & Co started as her boss, but quickly became her mentor and her family, and they worked together until the very end. Their loyalty and love for one another was evident in the outstanding work they produced. Anyone who ever worked with Michelle just once always wanted to be on her set because she was just that good at her job and she made everyone around her feel special, protected and taken care of; that was Michelle’s way.

In 2010, Michelle met her husband Will Nitch, and they fell quickly in love, sharing so many of the same interests and passions.  Together they had two beautiful children, Billy, age 9, and Stevie, age 6.  Michelle’s love and devotion to her family and her children was unparalleled, and her determination to fight her cancer to be there for her children was awe inspiring and left an enduring impact on all that knew her.

The family wishes to extend their deepest gratitude to those whose compassionate care and unwavering dedication brought comfort and support to Michelle during her battle with cancer, especially her oncologist, Dr. Heinz-Josef Lenz at USC, who Michelle trusted implicitly and who treated Michelle with so much care and love. The commitment of all of her doctors to her healing and their concern for Michelle’s well-being touched our hearts profoundly.  

In this heart-wrenching loss, her absence leaves a void that echoes the very depth of her presence. Though her time with us feels painfully short, her legacy of love, warmth, kindness and laughter remains eternally etched in the hearts of all that knew her.  Her bright spirit will continue to illuminate our lives, and her memory will not fade, but continue to bloom like the flowers she loved. May she now rest in eternal peace knowing that she was not just loved, but cherished beyond measure, and will be forever missed.

She is survived by her husband, Will Nitch; children, Billy and Stevie Nitch, Woodland Hills, CA.  Her mother, Janis (Mark) O’Bryan, Carrolton, TX; Step-mother Cindy (Jones) Hynek, Barnes; mother and father in law, Bill and Missy Nitch, Greenville, PA; sister, Kara (Jared) Sedlacek, Hanover, brothers, Brent (Jenny) Hynek, Barnes, Ryker (Sandra) Exum, Carrolton, TX, and Marc Hynek, Kansas City, MO, step brother, Mark O’Bryan Jr., Plano, TX, step sister, Alyson O’Bryan, Frisco, TX; brother-in law, Nathan (Jeanette) Nitch, Austintown, OH.  Her nieces and nephews, Ali (Colton) Barton, Dawson Sedlacek, Ella, Mabel, Adele and Ila Hynek; Meela and Orion Exum, and Bria and Maya Nitch.  Her grandparents, Pansy and Walt Rudolph, Blue Rapids, and Vic and Jan Jones, Waterville as well as many close friends that she considered family.

Preceding her in death was her father, Larry Hynek as well as grandparents, Jack and Alberta Hogue, Mary and Joseph Hynek, Bill and Delores Nitch, and Tom Rea and Anna Rea Long. 

An education fund has been established for her children, Billy and Stevie Nitch. Donations can be sent in care of Hanover Mortuary, 110 S Hollenberg St, Hanover, KS 66945 or you can follow this website to donate online

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michelle Lee Hynek, please visit our flower store.


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