Melissa Gelinas devoted her life to raising her two children, Christin and Chad, and to serving others, said her father, Larry Wright.
“She was a doting mother, raising her children as a single parent for the past 14 years,” he said.
Melissa Gelinas, 51, of Valparaiso, died May 4. She earned her associate degree from Olivet University and her bachelor’s from Valparaiso University. She was a member of Valparaiso Nazarene Church.
She is survived by her fiance, Frank Azzolina. She was preceded in death by her mother, Christine Wright.
Daughter Christin Gelinas said her mother loved to make the holidays and birthdays memorable, and their house was a second home to numerous teens.
She had a great sense of humor and loved to play pranks on family members. She was full of life and fun to be around, she said.
Gelinas was a seasoned travel agent, her father said, and loved taking her children on trips during school breaks and vacations.
“She loved the beach, and made sure there was always one nearby,” he said.
Son Chad Gelinas said his mother supported their athletics endeavors.
“She treated each game like it was a state tournament,” he said.
Larry Wright said his daughter always took the time to educate herself on things she was passionate about, and became a strong advocate for diabetes after her son, Chad, was diagnosed at an early age.
Azzolina said Gelinas loved music and her church, and was always willing to lend a helping hand.
“Her compassion and zest for life enriched the lives of everyone who knew her,” Azzolina said. “Her soft, gentle spirit became a beacon of light to those in her path.”
Christin Gelinas said her mother was always encouraging her and her brother.
“She taught us great life lessons in perseverance, compassion and love,” she said.