Michelle Aurea (Antaya) Grinsel, 38, of Ventura, California, passed away on Feb. 19, 2017 at home surrounded by family after a three-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. Michelle was born and raised in the beautiful lake side northern Michigan town of Traverse City to John and Aurea Antaya on Nov. 11, 1978.
She graduated from Traverse City Central High School in 1996. After high school she attended Michigan State University and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in communications in 2000.
In the summer of 1997 she met the love of her life, Mark Grinsel, while working as a waitress at St. Mary Lodge and Resort in Glacier National Park in St. Mary, Montana. After college she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Mark and began a career in apparel merchandising with Marshall Fields department stores. In 2005 she fulfilled a lifelong dream when she and Mark moved to the Ventura, California, area to begin a career with the outdoor clothing company, Patagonia.
She is survived by her husband, Mark; daughters, River (7) and Sea (5), of Ventura, California; her mother, Aurea Antaya, of Traverse City; her sister, Laine (Antaya) Kyser, of Interlochen; her half brother, Shawn Nickel, of Cummings, Georgia; her half sister, Dawn (Nickel) Heimbold, of Alaska; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Dave and Kathy Grinsel, of Neenah, Wisconsin; her sister-in-law, Jennifer (Grinsel) Borths, of Appleton, Wisconsin; her sister-in-law, Jodi (Grinsel) Clifford, of Denver, Colorado; and many others.
She was preceded in death by her father, John Antaya.
Michelle loved water, swimming, scuba diving, traveling, art, crafting, music, dancing, playing with her children and her friends.
Michelle was fiercely beautiful, funny and smart. She was confident, stubborn and strong. She was an amazing mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, businesswoman, writer, filmmaker and artist. She had success at everything she put her mind to. She lit up a room when she walked in. She was present when she talked to others. She made everyone feel important, seen and valued. She taught us all about living in the moment with gratitude. She set the tone for others to follow in her battle with cancer. She approached this cruel disease with the same strength, grace, determination and optimism that she brought to all her endeavors. Her attitude carried her entire family and many others through her journey. She was a gift to the world and will be incredibly missed.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Friendship Paddle, 920 Garden St. Suite A, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; www.friendshippaddle.org.
The family wishes to extend their gratitude to all of their amazing friends, their Patagonia community, the Santa Barbara Friendship Paddle community and all of the amazing doctors, nurses and administrators who carried them through the last three-and-a-half years.
Funeral service were held in Ventura, California.
Published on February 28, 2017