Former Juneau resident Melissa Liane Lewis, 36, died Dec. 14, 2004, surrounded by family and friends in Seattle, after being diagnosed with cancer in July.
She was born on April 30, 1968, in Midwest City, Okla., to Barbara and Jerry Lewis. She grew up in many places around the world following her Coast Guard father's career. She graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1989 with a degree in journalism. Upon graduation, she hosted "Good Morning Fairbanks" a daily television talk show - one of her many interesting careers.
She traveled extensively across the United States, as well as to many exotic destinations. Her family says, "Melissa loved the beach ... any beach and she loved being outdoors." She fed her outdoor fix by working on a halibut fishing charter out of Homer, rafting, skiing, playing hockey and softball and more. Her family says, "She'd try anything once."
Her adventuresome spirit led her to Seattle, where she sampled other careers including waiting tables, installing Coinstar machines, handing out chocolate truffle samples, and paying her dues at a desk job creating marketing proposals. In the end, she followed her heart and through research and perseverance she landed her dream job in pharmaceutical sales with Abbott Laboratories in Anchorage.
She lived in exciting locales, including a lighthouse in Maine and London.
She is survived by her parents, Barbara and Jerry Lewis; brothers Jerry, Mark (wife Teresa) and Chris (wife Maria); her sister, Caskie (husband Gerry Clapper); many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. Her family and friends say, "She left behind too many friends to name, but will always be with them in spirit ... through a sandy beach, a beautiful tulip, red balloons, an icy Sprite or a cup of coffee with hazelnut cream!"
A celebration of her life will be held in Seattle in April 2005 and another in Homer on her birthday, April 30. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lance Armstrong's "LiveStrong" foundation by going to http://www.laf.org where you can donate to a memorial in her name.