Michelle L. Skalsky Simon, 67, a Northeast Philadelphia lawyer and volunteer for charitable causes benefiting children, died Friday, Nov. 9, of cancer at her home in Margate, N.J.
Ms. Skalsky was born in Philadelphia to Edith and Bob Skalsky. She graduated from Cheltenham High School and Temple University with a bachelor's degree in education.
She began her law school studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., but transferred during her final year to Villanova Law School to be near her family. She graduated with the Villanova Class of 1976, but received her law degree from Gonzaga.
"Michelle was a force to be reckoned with," said Gianna DeMedio, who is engaged to her son, Marc. "She dominated in the courtroom, but outside of it, she used her sweet and kind demeanor to work with many regional charities that supported better lives for children."
In 1978, Ms. Skalsky married trial lawyer Michael Simon. They had met at a bench bar conference in 1977. The couple had two children whom they raised in the Rydal section of Abington before splitting their time between homes in Margate and Palm Beach, Fla.
Ms. Skalsky maintained a solo practice on Tyson Avenue in the Northeast. She handled real estate and criminal cases, and family law. In the early 2000s, Ms. Skalsky retired from practicing law to focus on social clubs, spending time with friends and family, and charity work in the Jewish community.
She was committed to the Golden Slipper Club and Charities, and Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options (JAFCO). The Golden Slipper gave her its Horatio Alger Award. The adoption group, on whose board of directors she served for many years, recognized her with its Woman of Valor Award at a luncheon in April 2012.
"These charities [work toward] Michelle's dream that all children should have an opportunity for a healthy and happy life," her family said.
Ms. Skalsky waged a decade-long battle against cancer with courage and dignity. "She was not defined by her illness," her family said. "Michelle lived every day to the fullest, and always encouraged others to do the same."
She enjoyed traveling with her family and walking her dog, a Coton de Tuléar named Oliver.
She was a longtime member of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park.
In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by a daughter, Lisa, and a large extended family.
A visitation starting at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, will be followed by an 11:30 a.m. funeral service at Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Rd., Elkins Park. Interment will be at Har Jehuda Cemetery, Upper Darby.