Melissa Ruth Ager Wilkinson
TACOMA, Washington – Melissa Ruth Wilkinson, 47, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loved ones on Aug. 1, 2021. Melissa was born in Tacoma, Washington on Aug. 4, 1973 to Ed Ager and Carolyn Parker. A current resident of Baker City, Oregon, Melissa is survived by her husband, Rob; children, Drew, Erin, Tatiana, Zack and Jordan; parents, Ed Ager (Debra), Carolyn Parker (Bill); siblings, Betty Ramsey (Gary), Teresa Vaughn (Jeff), Darwin Flitton, Robert Ager, Brian Ager (Crystal), Jack Parker and special sister, Debbie Briggs (Rodney). She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Melissa graduated from Foss High School in 1991. After high school, she attended Pierce Community College and graduated from Eastern Washington University in 1997, with a degree in elementary education. She would later earn a master’s degree in education from Heritage University. Rob and Melissa met in college in 1994 and became friends very quickly. He proposed to Melissa on Feb. 12, 1995, because he couldn’t wait until Valentine’s Day. Her beauty, kindness, loving personality and infectious smile captured his heart instantly. They were married June 23, 1997 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After college, Melissa and Rob made their home in Kennewick, Washington. Melissa taught for several years at Southgate Elementary and then Desert Hills Middle School, making many friends along the way. In 2008, they moved to Plainview, Texas. After staying home for four years to raise their children, she returned to teaching at Plainview Christian Academy and then Estacado Middle School making more friends. In 2019, after completing the school year, Melissa and the family joined Rob in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Melissa was hired to teach at Pinon Elementary. Unfortunately, in October of 2019, Melissa was diagnosed with a grade 4 Glioblastoma brain tumor. After surgery and recovering, Melissa went back to teaching part-time until COVID-19 closed schools. Rob stated, “I’ll never forget the reaction of Melissa’s kids when she returned to school in January 2020. All her students ran up to Melissa and waited patiently for a hug. Even in that short time, Melissa made a huge impact on her students. In August 2020, they decided to move back to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to family and relocated to Baker City, Oregon.”
In addition to being a wonderful loving mother to their five children, Melissa impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of youth through teaching. She absolutely loved sharing her gift of reading and writing with her students. Melissa was a beloved teacher by both students and co-workers. Melissa passed on her gift of curiosity and being a lifelong learner to her children.
Melissa was an incredibly talented individual who had many hobbies. She loved spending time with family and friends. She had a green thumb and designed all kinds of different flower beds over the years. She loved to read and would spend hours on her favorite swing with a good book. She was also a very good artist who would paint murals on the kid’s walls when they were younger. Melissa loved animals and they had many pets over the years, who were also part of the family. To many, she was known as the pet whisperer and saved many wounded animals over the years. Throughout the years, there were many times they would receive calls from people who found a wounded bird, dog, cat, etc. Melissa would nurse these animals back to health, more times than not.
Melissa faced many health challenges over the years, but she always remained a positive light in the lives of others and never asked why me. She truly was an inspiration to Rob, their children, her loved ones and all she came in touch with. Melissa had a rare gift of taking care of others needs, before her own, even while fighting cancer. She was Rob’s best friend, wife, mother of their children and leaves a huge hole in their hearts, as well as anyone she touched. She would want all of us to keep on living, go on adventures, create memories and make a difference in the lives of others, just as she did.
The family would like to thank Melissa’s medical team at the Christus Cancer Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, her St. Luke’s Medical team in both Baker City and Boise, and Heart ‘n Home Hospice for their excellent and tender care.
On Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. there will be a celebration of life at the Baker City Church of the Nazarene with Pastor Troy Teeter officiating the service.
We would be honored for memorials to be made to the following organizations: In Kennewick, Washington: Benton Franklin Humane Society or the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities. In Plainview, Texas: PAWS Pet Adoption or YMCA of Plainview. Texas. In Los Alamos, New Mexico: Los Alamos Schools Foundation or The Family YMCA. In Baker City, Oregon: Baker County YMCA. You may make your donation through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, Oregon 97814.