Michelle was born on December 13, 1973, in Clay Center, Kansas. She attended Lincoln and Garfield Elementary, McKinley Junior High School and Clay Center Community High School in Clay Center, Kansas.
Perhaps Michelle’s best work came in the form of having two amazing children – Jordan was born in 1991, and Jacob was born in 1993. As a single mother, she took on the challenge of raising kids with grit and fervor. She did the best with what she had as a young mother, and provided for them by working multiple jobs and relying on family for help.
Wanting to find a fuller and different life and searching for a fresh start, Michelle and the kids moved to Colorado in 1999. She worked, attended college and raised the kids. Michelle was so proud of the talented and responsible adults that Jordan and Jacob have become.
She graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture/agriculture in December 2002. Michelle worked for Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery for seven years. She lived in Kansas City for a year and worked for Loma Vista Nursery, then moved back to Fort Collins to their house on Elm Street. She started Sunshine Horticulture, her own business as a tree and shrub wholesaler in 2011.
Michelle met Michael Krumdieck on September 10, 2010, and they bonded over their love of live music. Michelle and Michael were married on January 11, 2019, in Jamaica. They had a blast enjoying the islands and the music and even played the maracas with the band. While in Jamaica, they swam in the bioluminescent waters and basked in the Caribbean sun.
Michelle loved to try new things, and never stopped growing. In recent years, she began painting and took a graphic arts class. She was a runner, a yogi, a drummer, and ate her kale salads to stay healthy, but would never pass up pimento cheese or a slice of her mom’s apple pie. She loved nothing more than spending time in Old Town Fort Collins, riding their tandem bicycle to local breweries, and going to concerts. She and Michael spent winters skiing and summers hiking, always stopping to appreciate nature and smell the flowers.
She made an impact on everyone’s life. If you knew Michelle, you knew her infectious laugh and boisterous personality, her bright smile, her kind and warm eyes, and her ability to light up a room. She was vibrant, she was young, and she was a friend to many.
Her beautiful gardens and flower beds were a testament to how talented she was with plants and trees. She was always planting, she was always moving, and she was always pulling weeds. Michelle would geek out on plants with her ability and smarts, giving you the Latin and common name of any tree, grass, flower, or bush. Plus, she could diagnose the health of each individual plant. She was passionate about her career and had so much initiative to grow her business.
Serving Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association (CNGA) and the horticulture industry to the very end, she became suddenly ill during a CNGA Board meeting and was taken to the hospital where she died just hours later from an aortic dissection.
Her personality and life impacted many – here are perspectives from two current CNGA Board Members:
“Michelle worked at Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery from 2004 to 2011, as our outside sales rep. She instantly became an integral part of our team and company family (and it still feels like she is part of that family today). She was a joy to everyone she came in contact with. Her boisterous laugh could be heard from just about anywhere in our office. Michelle could truly make anyone’s day better by her amazing positive energy, and her true love for what she did and those around her. The horticulture industry has lost a very bright star, and will not be the same without her. I only hope that those touched by her spirit never lose what she brought to those around her: joy, laughter, fun, and love.” – Dan Wise, Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery
“The moniker ‘Sunshine’ serves Michelle the best. Her creative spirit was evident in her professional life as well as her very active personal life. Her friendship has meant so much to me and enriched my life. I cherish my memories from Sleepy Cat and Telluride, where we indulged our mutual passion for great music and fellowship with our great group of Festivarians. Michelle will be missed; she brought so much to the table. Her Sun shines down on us all.” – Harriett McMillan, Echter’s Nursery & Garden Center
If you wish make a memorial for Michelle, please donate to Hope House, a nonprofit that provides free self-sufficiency programs, education, and housing to teen moms.