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Michael PonTell

Michael PonTell Obituary

Michael PonTell
Michael PonTell was a writer, a dreamer, a champion for other young writers whose voices had yet to be heard. An author himself of two books, Michael founded Onlinbrary as a platform for students and budding authors to have their work published on the open market. "To write about your life," Michael wrote on the company's website, "To share and support others in their creativity. To be supported in your own. This is where you turn when publishers and agents turn you down. This is where you decide how far you go, how high you climb. No one will stop you here. Create. Share. Enjoy."

Michael, who passed away on May 12 at age 23, created much during his young life. He wrote about relationships, about exploration, about life. His book, James Thatcher and the Seven Keys, opens with a poignant interaction between two foster care children experiencing their first taste of real freedom. "With every passing second," he wrote, "they felt more like regular, loved children than the wandering vagabonds they'd been accused of being more than a few times."

His writing came naturally – from a deep sense of compassion and caring for the human spirit, his family says. He grew up in Ontario, attended New York University and ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Hillsdale College.

At Onlinbrary, he created a writing contest for high school students, which he'd hoped to take national. The recently completed first contest featured more than 240 entries from the Chaffey Joint Union High School District and Upland High School. Friends and family will keep the contest program going through onlinbrary.com.

Michael loved to travel and by the age of 16 had visited 6 continents coming within 200 miles of his goal of reaching all 7. He loved to debate and passionately believed that people

should know what they believe and why they believe it. He loved to play all kinds of games and was the master at learning how to find unconventional ways to win.

He had very deep personal friendships and made those around him comfortable with his easy smile and keen wit. He will be enormously missed.

Michael is survived by his mother Michelle; his father Steve; his sisters Erin and Grace; his cousins Luke, Marko, Kadija, Claire, Paige, Ethan, Loc, Maren, Lachlan, and Caulder as well as those from Switzerland Levin, Dylan, Mario and Nicolas; his grandmothers Mary Dowling and Donna (Dee) PonTell.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 31st at 2pm at the Ontario Doubletree, 222 North Vineyard Ontario.

In lieu of flowers, Michael's family requests donations be sent to Achieve Goals, an educational 501c-3 non-profit organization affiliated with Onlinbrary, 11625 Mount Hood Court, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737. Please include "Michael PonTell" in the memo line. The money will be used to support young writers, coordinate future contests and provide scholarships.
Published in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on May 24, 2015
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