Melanie Ann Erickson, 62, formerly of Lustre, died Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at home in Missoula.
She born to Bob and Anna Watkins in July 1960. She lived on Whidbey Island until grade school in Edmonds, Wash., then returned to Whidbey in high school. She attended Everett Community College and George Fox College with a degree in Christian ministries.
She met Mark at George Fox and they married in Great Falls in 1983. Before that, her bucket list included a mission's trip to the Philippines where she spent a summer of service.
They lived in Newberg, Ore., in the 1980s and spent a year in the Dominican Republic teaching at a Christian school. They returned to start their family. After losing their first child in miscarriage, they had Kelsey in 1990 and Amy in 1992.
The family eventually moved to eastern Montana where they raised the girls in farm country. It was a blessing to be together sharing activities. She worked at the girls' school as a teacher’s aide and spent some years as athletic director. She loved being able to attend all their sport and school activities, Awana and church events together.
The family moved to Missoula in 2008 and immediately fell in love with Missoula Alliance Church. She enjoyed the opportunities for community service. Later, she would be on staff as senior adult director, which was her dream job, meeting practical needs, encouraging sharing of personal stories of God’s faithfulness. It was challenging but gave her purpose. Her experience at Burlington Square Apartments was helpful. She was part of Missoula Aging Services Advisory Council.
The cancer diagnosis came unexpectedly. She received tremendous support from friends and family near and far. Her goal was to allow feelings, but not stay in depths of despair. She was given over a year of normal activity despite side effects. She is survived by her husband, Mark; daughters, Kelsey and Amy; brothers, Lou Pappas, Dennis Pappas and Rob Watkins; and four grandchildren.