RIP: Michelle Costa, friend of the LOUIE project

Last week, we’ve lost our friend Michelle Costa, who passed away on January 13th at the age of 47 years old.

I met Michelle 10 years ago. She lived within a mile from my post office box in Santa Clara, CA for most of her entire life, but I didn’t make a connection with her until I was about 1,000 miles away, visiting Tacoma, WA. In the course of my Northwest LOUIE research, I was told that Mike Burk (drummer of the Wailers) had some family members in Santa Clara that might have some vintage archival material of the Wailers.

I made contact with Barbara Burk Costa, Mike’s sister, who followed her brother’s career with the Wailers, collecting photographs and newspaper articles. Barbara introduced me to her daughter Michelle, who allowed me to make copies of various items from the family collection.

Michelle and I became good friends, and I was happy to be invited to some family events, including a big 80th birthday party for her Aunt Roswitha.

A few years after I met Michelle, her mom Barbara passed away. Things got a bit hectic with our different schedules, and I didn’t catch up with her as often. I knew that she doing more traveling with her boyfriend Mark Starry, and we did keep track of each via email and Facebook.

Then she got sick and died. I knew she was facing some health issues, but I had no idea how bad things were until it was too late.

Unfortunately, Michelle lost contact with her uncle Mike, due to some family squabbles. She tried to reach out to him, but wasn’t able to talk to him in many years, despite her best efforts to reconnect. The last conversation I had with Michelle, two months before she died, she mentioned how she wanted to send some personal items to her uncle, and remind him how much he was loved.

Sadly that never happened.

Yet another reminder that life is indeed short, and there’s no time like the present.

Rest in peace, my friend.

photo by Eric Predoehl

1 comment to RIP: Michelle Costa, friend of the LOUIE project

  • robert goldfarb

    oh wow that really a bummer michelle and i went high school we use always hung out back in the 80s is there anyone there that i can contact with? where her cemetery?

    Robert Goldfarb

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