Monday, August 21, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
St Alphonsus Catholic Church
224 Carrier St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Visitation from 10AM until the start of Mass
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Life Story / Obituary
Michaela McIntosh was a very special partner, daughter, sister, and friend to many. She had an adventurous spirit and a kind, caring heart. Dependable and loyal to any family member or friend in need, Michaela’s warm personality was her greatest gift. Gone too soon, she leaves behind many wonderful memories for her family and friends to cherish lovingly in their hearts forever.
The year 1988 was a special year for Dennis and Michelle Thornburg as they welcomed the arrival of their newborn daughter, Michaela Denise, on April 10th in Traverse City, Michigan. Both the first grandchild on both sides, her birth brought special happiness to her family.
Michaela lived a typical childhood filled with curiosity and adventure. She had a creative flair for drawing and a tenderness for animals. Michaela relished in her role as an older sibling to her brother, Matthew, just six years younger. She enjoyed spending time outdoors fishing with her dad and spending time on her grandparent’s farm. Due to her dad’s service in the United States Air Force, the family moved often. They lived in the states of Washington, New Hampshire, and Maine before later settling back in the Jackson area. Michaela thrived on the school swim team and enjoyed playing soccer. She was well-liked by her classmates and held a busy social calendar.
Art became her solace and she enjoyed charcoal drawing before she was introduced to photo-realism drawing. Michaela had a rich taste for music during these years and enjoyed everything from The Beatles to New Age and Jimmy Buffett. In addition to her studies and sports, she always held a job to build her sense of responsibility. Starting out as an altar server at church, she eventually worked at Godiva Chocolates, a local pretzel place, and later, bars and restaurants. Anything she set her mind to do, she always succeeded!
After graduating with the Class of 2006 from Jackson Lumen Christi Catholic High School, Michaela enrolled at Central Michigan University and spent time on an internship at Disney pursuing her dream as an animator. After that year, she came back to Jackson Community College before transferring to Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. Midway through, Michaela took another route to attend the Aveda Institute where she would study cosmetology. Her natural way of making people feel good and smell good was a perfect fit in her new field!
In addition to her work and social life, Michaela loved to stay active and on the go. She was a member of a local roller derby team and enjoyed following her U of M football and Detroit Lions! Any time she attended one of the games, Michaela took her outfits to the next level! She would go all out to show her true pride in her home teams. She took several trips with her parents to Disney and loved visiting the Florida Keys. Michaela loved a fast car and a faster rollercoaster, and even did some bungee jumping! Michaela was also a huge fan of the popular TV sitcom, The Golden Girls. The show aired from 1985-1992 and many binged on reruns that taught them the life values of love, family, and aging, and on the restorative power of friendship. Michael loved the show’s sassy humor and of course, the vibrant characters that became known as the Fab Four.
Above all else, Michaela’s true love was food. She enjoyed cooking for others and whipping up meals from things she put together from the refrigerator. A fully stocked buffet was her favorite. Before her illness stole her passion for eating, seafood was her favorite. The more exotic the dish, even those with the fish eyes looking up from the plate, all the better! During her time working in food service at St. Ann’s, she fell for her co-worker, Angela Renea McIntosh. Their bond was strong from the very beginning. Michaela felt that Angela saw the real her and she saw the real Angela. The happy couple married on March 3, 2022, and took a honeymoon to Disney. The two of them enjoyed continuing on several journeys together. A highlight was touring Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula.
Described as both graceful and spicy, Michaela was equally loving and sensitive. She was proud to have reconciled her past with her family and reconnected with them during her sobriety. She cherished her relationships with each and every person who touched her life. Her love of animals continued throughout her life and she also held a special connection with her four chickens and four cats. Sadly, her digestive failure could not be beaten. May she now enjoy her Cheeseburger in Paradise! May all who knew and loved her reflect her magnetic spirit by helping others, looking for the blessings in life, and savoring the lessons she taught them in such a short amount of time.
MCINTOSH (THORNBURG) – Michaela Denise McIntosh, age 35, of Grand Rapids, passed away on August 17, 2023, at her home surrounded by family. She was preceded in death by her grandmother, Sharon Birgy. Michaela is survived by her wife, Angela Renea McIntosh; parents, Dennis (Michelle) Thornburg; brother, Matthew (fiancé, Ellie Tinney) Thornburg; and grandparents, Dale (Valerie) Thornburg, Marquerite (Dale) Cruickshank and Larry Birgy. Also surviving are her uncles and aunts; Dale Thornburg, Steve Birgy, Tom (Kathy) Birgy, and David Birgy; and cousins; Jessica, Tyler, Tanner, Thad (Katie), and Alyssa (Dillon).
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, August 21, 2023, at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 224 Carrier St NE Grand Rapids. The family will receive visitors for one hour prior to Mass. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Humane Society of West Michigan or Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.