Michelle Lihou was a loving mother, daughter, friend and to so many within the Fleurieu community, an astute business woman who cared for everyone she was associated with.
Michelle was the sole owner of Goolwa Conveyancing and in March the business celebrated a major milestone, marking its 20th anniversary of opening.
Sadly, in April of this year, Michelle passed away.
Michelle had a wealth of experience in the industry when she began Goolwa Conveyancing all those years ago and helped build the business with a loyal team that will now continue to carry on her legacy with pride.
Michelle had a passion for conveyancing being involved in the industry since starting working after school, more than 40 years ago.
Being the ultimate professional, Michelle maintained her Certified Practicing Conveyancing status for a number of years in her position on the board of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers SA Division (AICSA) and was a leader in electronic conveyancing.
Michelle arranged best practice group meetings with other conveyancers in the area. She made it a priority to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in an industry that is constantly evolving, in order to be able to pass on that best practice to her clients.
Michelle made a point of attending every AICSA conference - be it state or national.
Kirsty Smith worked with Michelle for 36 of those years and all the 20 years at Goolwa Conveyancing and admired Michelle's ability and passion for her work and her family.
"Although Michelle has passed on she was so passionate about us carrying on the business on her behalf. It is her legacy," Kirsty said.
"We were best buddies and she was such a big part of my life. It was very special to have such a fantastic working and social relationship with someone and I had it with Michelle. Michelle has been a big part of my life."
Michelle and her team supported over the 20 years many members of the community with property needs in regards to transfer of land, land division, leasing and easements to name a few.
Michelle was always professional with great customer service. She dotted the i's and crossed the t's and showed genuine care for everyone.
She was involved in the Rotary Club of Goolwa, on the Board of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers SA Division and was a sponsor of the Goolwa Bowling Club and the Goolwa/Port Elliot Football Club.
The culture built at Goolwa Conveyancing was one of inclusiveness and Melanie Finn said when she first started at the business two years ago she felt like she was part of the family straight away.
"I felt like I had just walked into a family environment, as Michelle and Kirsty made you feel that way," Melanie said.
"It was and still is a great environment to work in. Michelle would love that we are continuing what she started at Goolwa Conveyancing."
Michelle said earlier this year "I love the Fleurieu - I've lived here for 25 years. I enjoy meeting and helping local clients".
Michelle is survived by her two children Rebecca and Matthew, who she loved very much.
Michelle was faced with many health challenges over the years, all of which she approached with a positive and determined attitude, never letting her challenges get the better of her.
Her positive outlook was infectious and her inner strength and determination an example to all who knew her.
Rebecca said she only had positive memories of a working Mum.
"Mum had a love for conveyancing. Despite the challenges of being a single mum and a business owner she found a way to combine them both and find the right balance, also showing me what an honest and caring work ethic truly is," Rebecca said.
"The conveying business was like a third child and that has been nourished and loved like it was a part of the family including the staff involved.
"This process has been difficult to say goodbye to that chapter of my childhood and mum's life. I'm so pleased that Lauren Price from Stevens Partners has taken over ownership of Goolwa Conveyancing as she understands the business having grown up with a parent owning their own conveyancing practice herself.
"It keeps the connection between the business and Mum.