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Michel Kane Etjeke
September 29, 1942 ~ October 30, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old
1 Tree, Flower, or Condolence has been shared with support of Michel's family - View on Tribute Wall
Michel Kane Etjeke was 81 years old when he passed away on Monday, October 30th, 2023, at Wilson Health Care in Gaithersburg, MD.
Michel was born September 29th, 1942, in Edea, Cameroon to the late Etjeke Kane and Cecile Ngon Miyigma. He was a twin to his sister, Salome Etjeke, and was the second youngest of five children including three brothers Miyigma Jean, Ndebi Bernard, and Benjamin Nlegue Paul.
Michel became an orphan at the age of 11 because of limited family resources, but, by God’s grace, he was adopted by a Catholic mission and attended Saint Dominic Catholic School of Edea. This is where he lived until the age of 18 and first discovered his aptitude as a chef. He left with the equivalent of a high school diploma in 1960 and moved back to his village to help his mother and family. Michel later found work at the Grand Hotel in Yaoundé as a concierge, a brewery worker and eventually signed on with the Minister of Finance (Marcel Yonda) as a server. While he was there, he met Mr. Michel Kos Epangaue (Ambassador) and he impressed him enough to be granted an opportunity to work in the Cameroon Embassy in London, England as the head chef from 1974-1977. When his mentor received a new assignment in Bangui, Central African Republic, he chose to stay and take a chance with the next Ambassador. The new Ambassador's name was Paul Pondi and he chose to retain Michel, so he continued his employment with the Embassy from 1977-1982. He was again provided the opportunity to continue his diplomatic assignment, this time in the United States, arriving in Washington D.C. in 1982. There he attended culinary school from 1983-1987 to become a certified chef while continuing to work at the Embassy. In 1987, Ambassador Pondi was recalled and returned to Cameroon which ended Michel’s tenure with the Cameroon Embassy. Ensuing work for Michel included employment at the Embassy of Nigeria and the Embassy of Senegal in the 1990s. Later, he worked at Montgomery General Hospital, Capital Hilton, and then Montgomery County Community College in the 2000s, each time as a chef or part of kitchen staff. He finally retired in 2010 and spent time traveling back to Cameroon to visit family and friends.
Michel was first married to Marie Therese Ngindoutou in 1970 and four children were born from that union. After their separation, he married Marie Joelle Ngindengue in 1975 and they had four children together as well. Michel’s hope and strong love for family motivated him to unite the children from both marriages to live under the same roof in 1988 and all children maintain a close relationship to this day.
Michel’s Christian faith was important in his life and he could often be seen at mass with his family. Michel was very outgoing and he never met a stranger. His experience as an orphan gave him great compassion for others, especially those in need. He was very giving and practiced radical generosity by donating to the local community, sending money to family in Cameroon, and donating to the Saint Dominic Catholic Mission in Cameroon that ministered to him when he was a boy. Michel would invite folks going through challenges to move in with his family, while they got back on their feet, all the while supporting his wife and children. His kindness and selflessness are examples of his generosity, a trait instilled in his children and demonstrated in their own lives as they give back to their communities and family in Cameroon.
Michel was also known for his great cooking skills. Some of his family and friends' favorite dishes were his fancy omelets, poulet farcie, and coquilles Saint-Jacques. Some of Michel’s favorite events to watch were World Cup Soccer, Professional Boxing and WWF/WWE wrestling. His favorite all-time wrestler was Hulk Hogan. Michel had a dream to see the world and, in his lifetime, he had the
opportunity to travel to Canada, Germany, France, England and frequently his homeland, Cameroon. Michel’s love for life and his jokester personality were infectious to those around him and were his children’s favorite traits. He had the gift to make people laugh and smile, but would also give deep, eloquent speeches that could hold the whole room’s attention. His personality made him a great candidate for work in the Cameroon Embassy and provided him the opportunity to live in London as well as the United States.
Michel is survived by his wife of 48 years, Marie Joelle, children from his first marriage, Aime Etjeke Bernard Kane who tragically died at the age of seven in 1972, Jean Etjeke Miyigma Kane, Silvie Bernadette Kane, and Adeline Cecile Kane and, from his second marriage, Michael Magmien Kane, Thomas Pascal Nzatti Kane, Celestin Mbome Kane and Catherine Pondi Kane. He also leaves behind 15 grandchildren, Serge Steve Kane, Marie Josephine Kane, Paloma Ynes Ombougno, Raja Kane Etjeke, Haven Janelle Kane, Ronel Bakagna Ombougno, Glory Grace Kane, Sophie Carrington Etjeke, Jordan, Almira, Deacon Frederick Kane, Hunter Cesare Roberts, Jetson Foster Etjeke, Matthew Cameron Kane, and Blaire Marie Roberts, numerous nieces and nephews and plenty of friends. His final resting place will be Edea, Cameroon, buried in a private grave near his family house in his village, Mboka.