1981 – 2019
Michaela Rose, world traveler, foodie and chef, social justice warrior, fashionista, collector of rare and treasured antiquities, and beloved family and friend died at home on Sunday, January 20th. She was 37 years old. Michaela was born on July 16th, 1981 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia at Asunta Hospital to Mark and Catherine Welch, and an older sister Vida. When we called Mark’s folks to let them know she’d arrived, it was still July 15th (due to the fact that we were halfway around the world on the other side of the international date line). So Mark’s mom recorded her birthdate as 7/15/81. It took a while to agree that the 16th was official. Michaela racked up a lot of stamps on her passport before the age of five, since we moved to Brazil when she was 18 months and had traveled back and forth to the States a few times before we moved back permanently. Maybe her love of travel was absorbed before she even started kindergarten. In Denver, Michaela attended Kindergarten at Whittier Elementary, 1st -3rd grade at Wyman, and 4th -5th at Park Hill Elementary, which was the neighborhood school after we moved into our own home at 17th Avenue & Clermont. Michaela loved to cook early on and was our great dessert chef. Her enthusiasm did not extend to cleaning up the kitchen. Middle School was at Gove and High School was at East. There, she especially loved participating in choir and drama. Many of her friends recall fondly sharing the stage in the Three Penny Opera as one of the best of times. Her biggest academic challenge may have been the Constitutional Scholars program, where earned she earned the right to compete in Washington D.C. She went to college at Colorado State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. There she was involved in many activist pursuits related to social justice. After completing college, she worked for a time in a group home for disabled women. She then decided to become a union organizer with SEIU. This job involved long hours and constant travel. She managed to sock away a fair amount of savings because there was never time to spend her earnings. After three years with the union, she decided to apply to nursing school. She moved back to Denver, did a year of pre-requisites, and then attended the accelerated nursing program at Regis University. Her first full-time job after getting her Registered Nursing certificate was at the King Adult Day Enrichment Program (KADEP). She enjoyed the mix of doing nursing and educational programs. In one class she taught cooking to people with various levels of mobility. Most recently Michaela worked at Craig hospital as a rehab nurse. She thought Craig was the best! Her schedule allowed her to travel a great deal when she had time off, and that became her rhythm: working and traveling. She loved to camp and was a fearless international trekker! From Iceland to Raratonga (in the South Pacific), and even to visit her birthplace—Malaysia—just in the past few years. Michaela’s life reflected the content of her character. She was brave—tackling work that required giving of herself, living the life of a road warrior, traveling solo all over the world. She was compassionate—choosing to work in service at KADEP and Craig (both places that she loved dearly). But even after she was struggling with her own devastating medical condition, she tried to reach out to people she saw as vulnerable, like when she tried to talk a bus driver into taking home a confused homeless man while she was on her way home from chemo. She was sweet—“How’s your day going, Dad?” The question was one that became automatic and repetitive as she was less able to make other conversation. We are so grateful Michaela has been in our lives.