- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

In barely three decades, Melissa Monk filled life with a rich mix of eclectic music and whimsical kitch, exquisite food and ideas and adventures shared, devoted friends and loving parents. On June 9, 2020 she passed away suddenly in her own home in Owen Sound, and she will be deeply missed.

After years of seeing her mother's garden as little more than a lovely warm weather backdrop for her renowned parties, Melissa had filled her first apartment with houseplants when she moved in this March. She planted a wee garden out in front this spring. Close to the farmers' market, the library, her work at the Roxy, and her parents, she was literally putting down roots in the heart of her beloved hometown.

Melissa was excited and inspired by music. She delighted in Summerfolk, and had joined the board of the Georgian Bay Folk Society. One of the first times I saw her she was on the stage at OSCVI wearing a long feather boa, delivering a full-out, pull-no-punches version of Aretha Franklin's Respect. Her own mother didn't know she could sing like that. Melissa was full of surprises.

She had a rich inner life, and love of story. She was a writer, and I envied her easy and evocative way with words, her rare natural wit.

Melissa loved to say “I like cats” to fill in any awkward pause or to make people laugh or to see how they would respond. It was just plain fun to her and "Really," she would say "Who doesn't like cats?”

She valued people like that - accepting them just as she found them. As brilliant and funny as Melissa was, her real gift was in listening for the best in people and making them want to give her just that.

Three years ago Melissa connected with Saud, a man who lovingly coaxed her back into reading starting with short stories and then online literature courses. Through this, their beautiful relationship was formed. Saud adored her; they built each other up.

Melissa was cherished by her parents Leslie Monk and Ron Monk; she loved and was loved by her grandparents Barb Weir, Keith Hutchinson, Ron and Sylvia Monk, and a large extended family will treasure their memories of her. She leaves many dear friends and untold lives touched.

Melissa's crooked smile, and that full-throated, head-back laugh. Unmistakable.






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