Loss of a local legend
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – First off, some context. You are not Twiggy. You will never be Twiggy. Even if you are one of today’s modern women who do it all, well, Twig’s been there, done that, and trademarked the t-shirt. Twig might have let you fetch her a Crown at some point, but that’s about as close to this 99-year-old icon as most ever got.
You simply couldn’t keep up with Leona Michelle, and she buried nearly everyone of her peers who tried. Her son, David Volsic, shared with us the news that Twig has moved on to fish bigger water. In his words:
It is with great sadness and love that I post this for all who knew her.
LEONA “TWIG” MICHELLE, Sept. 8, 2017
Leona “Twig” Volsic Michelle, 99, formerly of Jackson Hole, passed away on Friday, September 8 at the home of her son, David Volsic, in Park City, Utah.
Leona was born in Bussey, Iowa on June 6, 1918 to Joseph and Leonie (Saletzki) Piquet. Her family later moved West where she spent her youth in the Wyoming coal camp of Dines, and later in life Winton, and Rock Springs.
She married Albert Volsic of Rock Springs. They were later divorced. Twig relocated to Jackson Hole and worked as a cocktail waitress at the famous Wort Hotel. A life-long sportswoman, she quickly caught the attention of the Wort Brothers and joined them on many fishing and hunting adventures to Alaska and Mexico.
With an enviable fly-fishing prowess during the 1960s/1970s, Twig was honored to be the first female participant in the Jackson Hole One Fly competition. She didn’t win but gave it one hell of a try with her beloved Royal Wulff fly. In turn, she was featured in “Field & Stream” and many other outdoor magazines based on her skills. She also became a sought-after fishing guide and guided with Phil Kent River Trips. Twig, along with her 11-year-old son Dave, took many celebrities and political figures down the Snake River for their first fly-fishing or float trips.
She always made the event memorable with her outgoing personality, chicken-fried steak lunch, love of nature, and expertise with a rod.
Ever the rugged individualist, Twig also owned one of the largest snow planes on Jackson Lake where she pulled up many a 25-pound mackinaw through the ice. Camping alone in her Alaskan camper in below zero weather was just who she was.
Twig, whose nickname resulted from a rare tangled backcast, was also an accomplished hunter, bowler, golfer, and cook who always opened her home to the “Orphans of Jackson Hole” on holidays. Or any day, for that matter.
She never passed a slot machine she didn’t like and could play for hours, invariably coming home with a pile of dough right up to a month before her death.
Her devotion to Crown Royal whiskey was legendary, along with her signature “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” toast. She made many cherished friendships from her days in Jackson and true to form, outlived them all.
Twig is preceded in death by her daughter, Bonnie (Clay) Taylor of Jackson Hole, her parents, and three siblings, Yvonne, Hortense and Steven. She is survived by sons, William (Kena) Volsic of Rock Springs, and David Volsic of Park City, UT along with many grandkids and great-grandkids who loved their “Nanny.”
The family would like to thank Encompass Home Health and Hospice for the compassionate care they gave Twig during her final days. No services are planned at this time.
Fish on, Twig. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.