GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The owner and publisher of Grand Rapids-based Women’s LifeStyle Magazine has died.
Victoria Upton died at home, surrounded by family, around 3:15 a.m. Wednesday, a magazine staffer confirmed. She was 63.
“How I would describe Victoria to people that had not yet met her is that she is a freight train of love, of kindness, of truth, of creativity, of vibrance, of color,” Elyse Wild, the editor-in-chief of Women’s LifeStyle, told 24 Hour News 8.
Upton died of brain cancer, which she was diagnosed with in September 2017. Her staff remembered her as a strong person and an optimist who rarely missed work even as she battled cancer. She came in on days she had chemotherapy in the mornings, never shying away from her role a leader.
According to the magazine she founded, Upton had been honored by the Van Andel Institute, American Heart Association and Grand Rapids Legacy Luncheon.
She also helped develop Grand Rapids Community Media Center, which supports community resources and nonprofits.
“Victoria was always around. She was a board member, a volunteer, she was an activist, a radio DJ — she had her own show that aired for decades — and the work she did for Community Media Center is truly immeasurable,” Kelly Koning, a former board member who worked closely with Upton, said.
And throughout her career, she worked to empower women.
“What she set out to do 20 years ago when she started (Women’s LifeStyle) was to elevate the voices of women in this community,” Wild said.
“Victoria pulled me aside and she’s like, ‘It’s really important that you tell other young women to join boards, because more young women need to sit on boards and they need to share their voice,'” Koning said. “I think more young women need to sit on boards to honor Victoria.”