Michelle E. Painchaud, 56, died Feb. 26, 2010, after a long illness, at Penobscot Bay Medical Center with her life partner, Ted Skowronski, at her side.

Born in Canada on Dec. 18, 1953, she was the daughter of Edward G. and Beatrice Painchaud. Raised in Harrisburg and Cornwall, Pa., she attended local schools and graduated from high school in Cornwall. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for one year before transferring to Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. After earning a bachelor of science degree from Lebanon, Michelle began studies at Rochester (New York) Institute of Technology, ultimately earning her master’s in science in computer science from that institution.

She was first employed as a phone systems design manager with ITT. Her next employment was with Bell Labs in Holmdel, N.J., where she worked as a process engineer. While working at Bell Labs, in an innocent joke of stealing malted milk balls from one of her co-workers, she met the man who would become her soul mate and life partner, Ted Skowronski.

In 1985 she transferred to Bellcore Corporation, where she worked until leaving to serve as a caregiver for her mother during her final illness. After serving in that capacity for her mother, Michelle later volunteered in that same manner for her father.

In 1990, seeking a more simple life, Michelle moved to Rockport and devoted her time to renovating her newly acquired home.

In 1996, Ted joined Chel here, and together they established ChelTed Gallery and Framing, expanding and growing that business into its present graphic design and fine art printing business.

Michelle’s artistic abilities were always evident in all she touched, whether designing her own home, printing fine art, web design or gardening.

The past 10 months she was employed at Pet Quarters in Rockland, where she was eagerly anticipating becoming that store’s manager last month, only to have illness dash that goal.

Michelle was known for her warm and friendly personality, and was always willing to share her knowledge with anyone. That personality quality was borne out when she recommended her co-worker for the management position that she realized she could not fill.

She volunteered many hours with the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League.

Michelle loved all living things, including plants, trees and animals. She particularly loved her registered German Shepherd Ollie and her Himalayan Lynx MaiLyn.

Michelle’s family greatly appreciates the help and support of their many friends during her final weeks.

Besides her partner, Ted of Rockport, Michelle is survived by her lifelong friend, who she affectionately referred to as her big sister, Judy Schnoke of Lebanon, Pa.

Friends and relatives are invited to visit Friday, March 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St. in Rockland, where a gathering in celebration of Michelle’s life will be held Saturday, March 6 at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice.