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Melanie Sue Shirley Marcello

How do you describe a ray of sunshine or a delicate flower? Warm, glowing, shining, radiant, beautiful, gentle, sensitive, tender…that’s Melanie.

On Saturday, November 5, 2022, the ray of sunshine and delicate flower for the Marcello and Shirley family, Melanie Sue Shirley Marcello, passed away at age 64.

A Memorial and Celebration of her Life will be Friday, November 11, 2022 at 11:00 AM at the First United Methodist Church in DeRidder. Ministers, Rev. Laraine Waughtal, officiating, Rev. George Lee Glass and Rev. Lynn Clayton will also be participating. Visitation will begin Thursday, November 10, 2022, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Myers Colonial Funeral Home in DeRidder.

The oldest of three children to Robert Joe Shirley and Rita Shirley, Melanie was born on December 14, 1957. She grew up in DeRidder, attended the local schools and graduated from DeRidder High School Class of 1976. Very involved and active throughout high school, Melanie played in the DHS Marching Band and was a part of the Rifle Corp with the Ambassadors in Blue. She cherished her high school friendships.

Graduating from McNeese State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education, Melanie started her 35-year career at Rosepine Elementary School. After 5 years off to raise her son, Reid, Melanie went back to the classroom at Carver Elementary. It was at Carver where her true love for teaching developed. Melanie found her calling in life becoming a second and third grade teacher, mentoring and being a friend to the hundreds of children she taught through the years. She remembered most all her student’s names and was so proud when they would come up to speak to her when they grew up. She loved all children like her own. After about 22 years in the classroom, her principal, Ellis Ray Spikes asked her if she would consider taking a P.E. position at the school. Asking what is involved, Mr. Spikes told her to have fun with the children, there was no morning or afternoon duty, and she can wear shorts and tennis shoes all day. Melanie said, “I’ll take it.”

It was in the P.E. position, Melanie demonstrated her creativity and brought fun to the students at Carver. Her relationships with her “teacher friends” were most treasured, and she enjoyed and respected all the principals she worked under.

Melanie’s loving personality and smile just seem to make children gravitate to her on the playground and outside of school. Asked what does she do that attracts children to her so? Her answer is honestly listening to them, make them feel they are so very special and always give them a hug so they know they are loved. It didn’t hurt that they knew she always had a bag of M&Ms or something else sweet in her purse.

Melanie loved working outside. She would say she is a woman of the soil. She would get up before daylight and work in her flower gardens and tend to her goldfish ponds. She loved to watch them grow. Being a very humble and modest person, Melanie drove a 1994 Chevrolet S-10 pickup that was donated to her by her Dad before he passed. Melanie said that truck is her identity. Everyone in town who saw her in it knew that was Melanie.

Melanie attended Grace Church. For many years, Melanie served as a Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church and New Life Baptist Church. There she would continue to teach and help the children learn about the Word of God. Alongside Betty Meadows and Gordon Jenkins, she provided activities to help the children develop their relationships with God. During the summer, Melanie participated with the Beauregard Health Systems Pink Ladies Auxiliary. She was a faithful weekly supporter of Soul Soup.

Melanie leaves behind a family that loved her and will miss her dearly. Her husband of 31 years, John L. Marcello; son, Kinney Reid Hanchey IV; step daughter, Monica Leigh Watkin and husband, Scott Watkin of Houston, TX; grandsons, Jackson Scott Watkin and Pierce Alexander Watkin; mother, Rita Shirley; brother, Brian Shirley and wife, Kathryn Shirley of DeRidder, LA; sister, Melinda Pekol and husband, Greg Pekol of Parker, Colorado and many loving aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and so many dear friends.

She was preceded in death by her father, Robert Joe Shirley; maternal grandparents, Bertrand (B.N.) Simmons and Gladys Hayes Simmons and paternal grandparents, Selene and Mavis Shirley.

Melanie dearly loved her family and friends. It is that love and her faith that let her live a full and wonderful life.

The family would like to offer special thanks to all those who have expressed words of comfort, love, sympathy, condolences and showed expressions of love by preparing and delivering food to their homes. They would also like to express thanks to the DeRidder City Police and Fire Department, Med Express Ambulance Service and Myers Colonial Funeral Home for their prompt response and service.

While some may choose to send flowers and that will be deeply appreciated, donations in Melanie’s memory can also be made to the First United Methodist Church General Fund, Grace Church, New Life Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of DeRidder. Donations can also be made to the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society or any other charity of choice.

Melanie Sue Shirley Marcello
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