Denise Chavoya was born on Oct. 3, 1956, to Pat and Sheldon Green of Toronto, Kansas. She was raised with her two older sisters Linda and Terri.

In 1974, she married Trini Chavoya of Lompoc where she raised her two stepchildren and the two children she had with Trini. The family owned several small businesses in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Denise was always pursuing her true love — art. She was a talented sketcher, printmaker, animator, book artist and, most of all, painter. At Allan Hancock College, she spent years studying under the guidance of her mentors and friends, Ed Harvey and George Muro.

At various times she was a member of the Santa Barbara Art Association, the Goleta Valley Art Association, and the Artist Guild of Santa Ynez. Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries from Santa Barbara to the Bay Area.

Denise earned a bachelor of fine arts in painting, graduating “with distinction” from the California College of the Arts, in Oakland.

She used her art to process another aspect of her life — her lifelong struggle with the genetic kidney disease, Alport Syndrome, and with health insurance companies. Her father donated a kidney to her when she was 30, and, 10 years later, her sister Terri donated a second.

In her 50s, she was on dialysis again, and complications from this would eventually take her life. Her last years were spent caring for and playing with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

She was lovingly cared for by Trini as her health declined. She loved a good painting session with the grandkids or a complicated game of Barbies. She always looked forward to lunches with her dear friend Mary Harvey.

Our hearts are broken, but we have her paintings, and the memories of her creative spirit to remind us of her.

Denise is survived by her husband of 45 years Trinidad Chavoya; her parents Pat and Sheldon Green; her sister Terri Gorham; and her children Trini Chavoya, Tiffani Villa, Jennifer Moreno and Brandon Chavoya.

Her grandchildren are Chelsea Kopydlowski, Shelby Chavoya, Cheyne Chavoya,  Stephen Villa, Joshua Villa, Mason Villa, Christian Juarez, Michael Moreno, Caius Moreno and Clea Moreno. She is also survived by her great grandchildren Van and Coralee Kopydlowski, Ava and Ariah Villa, and Willow Chavoya.

Her sister Linda preceded her in death, and Denise remained close to the children and grandchildren of her sister.

Per her wishes, there will be no memorial services. Please consider donating in her memory to the Allan Hancock College Foundation/Ed Harvey Scholarship Fund, the ASPCA, or the Alport Syndrome Foundation.