Obituary for Melinda Ann McKeel

Melinda Ann McKeel, age 64, of Northfield, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. Melinda was born February 17, 1954, the daughter of Bruce and Mary Ann (Brydon) Opitz in New Castle, Pennsylvania. In 1972, she graduated from Sandy Lake High School. Having excelled at piano from a young age, she went on to Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in music education as a piano major. There she met Jim, a voice major, who she married with great joy on June 12, 1976. After a three-month honeymoon in Santa […]

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Melinda Ann McKeel, age 64, of Northfield, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.
Melinda was born February 17, 1954, the daughter of Bruce and Mary Ann (Brydon) Opitz in New Castle, Pennsylvania. In 1972, she graduated from Sandy Lake High School. Having excelled at piano from a young age, she went on to Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in music education as a piano major. There she met Jim, a voice major, who she married with great joy on June 12, 1976. After a three-month honeymoon in Santa Fe, New Mexico they settled in Minnesota where she taught middle school band for one year before beginning her true calling of a 40-year career as an inspirational and caring private piano teacher. During this time, the couple welcomed their two much-loved children, Julie and Tyler, and moved to Northfield, MN where Melinda, until the day she passed from this world, taught a studio of 50 enthusiastic students with a waiting list that just kept growing. She was a member of the Northfield United Methodist Church where she was involved with the youth group and music programs in addition to being an active member of the vibrant Northfield arts community.
Melinda so loved life in all its simple joys and new adventures whether it was creating jewelry or afghans for family and friends, reading a good book on the hammock, playing her Chopin on the piano, or taking a family trip to the mountains, the ocean, the desert, or family-favorite…Disneyworld. But most of all she loved the people in her life. And they adored her. It was in the treasured moments with family and friends, from coffee dates, shopping trips, heart-to-heart chats, picnics by the river, games by the fire, cookie baking on Christmas Eve, walks by the lake, wildflower planting, lantern-lit nights, and so many more simple delights, that the light of her spirit shone brightest.

She is survived by her husband James of Northfield; daughter Juliana (Rory) Frizell of Brooklyn, NY; son Tyler of Northfield; her father and step mother Bruce and Nancy Opitz of Grove City, PA; and two sisters Jane (Jim) Waxenfelter also of Grove City and Nancy Newman of Hermitage, PA. She was preceded in death by her mother, Mary Ann.

The family has chosen to hold a private remembrance of Melinda and looks forward to creating a special memorial tribute to be shared with everyone who knew and loved her.

Arrangements by Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. northfieldfuneral.com

 

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8 Comments

  1. Mary Anne O’Hare

    Sincere Sympathy for your great loss of wife and mother.

    Reply
  2. David Sutherland

    Jim – I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your wife. My prayers are with you and your family through this time. God bless you all!

    Reply
  3. Janet and Jim Dale

    She has given great joy to us as grandparents of Grant, Sam and Max, when we listen to them play, not with just technique, but with love of the music.

    She was a blessing to so many.

    A loss for your family and the community, especially all of her piano students.

    Reply
  4. Matt Rohn

    Melinda profoundly transformed my older child’s life with her patient, thoughtful and joyous teaching. We extend our deepest condolences to the entire McKeel family.

    Reply
  5. Paul Hoffer

    What a sweet, sweet woman. I am oh so glad I was able to know her. She will be missed by so many. My sincere condolences to Jim and family

    Reply
  6. Vonnie Brydon

    I feel so much sadness for my family.
    This is too soon.
    The only comfort is we know where she is and who she is with
    RIP my sweet prescious cousin

    Reply
  7. Walt Cronin

    Jim and Family: Your loss is unimaginable to me. When you and I would infrequently correspond, the love the two of you shared was palpable to me through your words. I pray that the memories of the times you shared will give you some solace and lessen some grief. If there is anything that I can do to ease your pain, please let me know. Walt

    Reply
  8. Jayanti Owend

    Dear Jim, Tyler, Juliana:
    I am sending my warmest wishes and deepest condolences to your whole family. Melinda was my piano teacher for over a decade and she inspired me with her love of music and life. Her love of music will live on in all of us she taught.

    With deepest sympathies,
    Jayanti Owens

    Reply

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