OLEAN - Michele Ann Krahe Peace, an Olean native and 1983 graduate of Olean High School, was a kind, generous woman always willing to help her family, friends and community.
In the hope of carrying on her giving spirit, her parents, David and Irene Krahe of Olean, have established the Michele Krahe Peace Olean High School Scholarship Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
Before she passed away Nov. 9, Michele not only worked as a CPA and volunteered for a number of organizations, but also was someone who offered "teachable" moments in her career and community, according to her parents.
"Education has always been very important in our family and we just thought this was a good way to remember Michele," Krahe said.
"Michele always gave so much and was very helpful, and she was a very good teacher in the organizations she was involved with," added Mrs. Krahe. "Community service has always been a big part of all our kids' lives."
As active members of the community, the Krahes said they told their children early and often that volunteering "is where you meet all kinds of people and gain many friendships."
Michele followed in her parents' footsteps, serving through her church's liturgy, friendship breakfast and bereavement ministries. She was also a Chardon Schools Foundation board member and president of Women in Networking (WIN) Cleveland.
The Michele Krahe Peace Scholarship will be awarded annually beginning this June to a graduate of Olean High School who plans to attend college, with a preference for a student who plans to major in Michele's chosen profession, accounting or business.
A graduate of Jamestown Community College, Michele received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Cleveland State University. She worked as a certified public accountant in Chardon, Ohio, where she had lived with her husband, David Peace (formerly of Portville), and two sons attending college.
Since she got her start in Olean, the Krahes felt it was appropriate to establish a scholarship in Michele's memory at her alma mater.
Michele also will be remembered through a scholarship fund her husband plans to establish at Chardon High School.
The Krahes' second son, Matthew, passed away Dec. 26, 1996. Because of his passion for architecture, for which he received a degree from Virginia Tech in May 1995, the Krahe family created a scholarship at the college in his memory.
Their experience with Matthew's fund inspired them to memorialize Michele in the same way.
"We keep a book of letters from people who've given to Matthew's fund," said Krahe. "It's heartening to know that other people still remember him, and we've already received a few memorials to Michele's fund so we know this is the right thing to do."
As an endowment the Michele Krahe Peace Scholarship Fund will provide scholarship awards in perpetuity, with the foundation investing the principal in order to provide for an annual award.
Donations to the Michele Krahe Peace Olean High School Scholarship should be made care of the Community Foundation at 120 North Union St., Olean, and online at www.cattfoundation.org.