Michael Stephen Denton
1952 - 2015
Michael Denton transitioned to a softer place on Wednesday September 23, 2015. His last moments were on the beach, where he had found peace and solace from childhood to his final days on earth. He always believed that when it was your time it would be revealed to you. And so it was, surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the Pacific Ocean, that he left us.
Michael was born and raised in Santa Barbara. He spent his formative years on the Mesa living across the street from Mesa Lane. It was a simple time of building forts, riding bikes, backyard sleepovers, and early morning dawn patrols in search of waves.
In 1962 his family moved to the San Roque area where he made new friends who would remain a part of him for rest of his life. Michael’s sense of humor and sense of fun led him into theater arts in high school and while he was in the Air Force managing weather devices in southern California, he established an off-base company to put on plays for the local community. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he spent an entire year traveling from Santa Barbara to South America with Tulum Dothee, with whom he was married from 1983-1988.
Michael was a graduate of both San Marcos High School and Santa Barbara City College. He was part of the Marine Technology Program, which provided him with the skills for challenging worldwide work, allowing him to be in and around the ocean that he was so connected to. His band of “fraternity brothers” still continues on from that time.
After leaving the diving community, Michael was employed by Robert Mondavi as their master landscaper, caretaker and maintenance supervisor for all the Mondovi Corporation holdings in Napa Valley, as well as for the family’s private estates. When he moved back to Santa Barbara in 2006, he worked both in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez as an independent contractor. He also donated his time to the Trinity Garden rebuilding a greenhouse, maintaining the mechanical equipment and putting his ability to grow anything to good use. The garden was a perfect fit for his knowledge and creative spirit.
Michael is survived by his mother Margaret “Peggy” Denton, his sister Sandra Denton and two nephews, Philip Scheid IV and Owen Scheid.
To his family he was a loving son, brother, and uncle. Anyone who knew Michael remembers him as a big man with a kind and sensitive heart, a wicked sense of humor, a musician, a rescuer of dogs, and a planner of adventures. He was always ready to roll at a moment’s notice. His was a heart that would give his last dollar to a stranger in need. A multi-talented master gardener and tradesman, a prankster with the best of them who always left the room with a good-natured wink and a lasting and endearing friendship to all he met. He will be missed tremendously by all whose lives he touched. His spirit will live in our hearts and souls forever.
A memorial service will take place in the spring of 2016, leaving from the Santa Barbara Harbor, where family and friends will gather to release his ashes, as he requested, into the sea, which he loved so much.