This month, we honor the life of our founder and publisher, the inimitable Victoria Upton. She went by many names: Victoria, Vic, Vickie, Vudu, V. To us, she was The Queen. She started Women’s LifeStyle 20 years ago as a vehicle to uplift and inspire women in our community; something she did every single day with unprecedented passion.
She was nothing short of magical; fearlessly generous with an incredible vision of what our city could be. Many across the community were directly impacted by her insatiable positivity, unrelenting enthusiasm for life and extraordinary love. To Victoria, each and every one of us was worthy of her love; a love that gave us direction and led us to our best selves.
As we mourn this monumental loss, hundreds pay tribute to Victoria by sharing their memories of her and her influence.
(The following comments have been edited for clarity.)
“I will always be grateful to her for helping me and helping the women that I wanted to reach out to. She will always be missed by all of us. And she will be very happy to know that she made a huge impact in our community."
— Erick Gerson
“Victoria Upton was kind, she was encouraging, she made me (and everyone she met) feel like the greatest person in the room. She wasn’t afraid to ask you do to hard things to support great things, and she would always be willing to be right there
with you to get it done.”
— Todd Herring
"Victoria always lit up the room and had something to contribute. She was kind, fierce, creative, generous and a hurricane of positive energy. Even when she was in a crisis, Victoria didn’t let life’s challenges change her.”
— Ann Teliczan
“Thank you, Victoria, for your beauty, wisdom, kindness, service and grace. Most of all, thank you for your friendship. We will miss you so very much.”
"She will be remembered for empowering those who were voiceless. She told our stories. Victoria created a platform and a pathway to make the world a better place for all of us. West Michigan has lost a giant."
— Kelly Koning-Ramic
“Thank you Victoria for being an inspiration to us all. You’ve showed us to live each moment in the present, while always seeking opportunities to empower one another and be a light of love. Your spirit will live within us.”
— Graci Harkema
“She was a force of nature. Our community is lessened today by her absence, but so much more for having her undaunted, loving energy and creativity with us for awhile.”
— Brad Miller
"A dynamo, an advocate, a savvy businesswoman, vivacious, wise, confident, creative, supportive, fearless, always real, funny as hell and feisty, with a giant personality and an even bigger heart.”
— Kim Kibby
“Her energy, determination and joy made us all better humans.”
— Kristin Revere
“You amazed me with all the layers of your talents and involvement and support. I think you made anyone you met feel like they belonged; that they mattered.”
— Mary Rademacher Reed
“Her creativity was unmatched and her curiosity relentless. But it was her enthusiasm for life that was contagious. She shared it with everyone she met. And, left a little of it behind in her wake.”
— Jennifer Phillips Wilson
“While she will be missed by so many of us, what a great life she lived. Most of us hope that we leave this world a slightly better place. Victoria did."
— Lynn Marie