Melissa (Monday) Napier
January 21, 1952 – August, 2023
Melissa (Monday) Napier, who graced the world with her warmth and indomitable spirit, passed away at the age of 71 in August 2023. She was surrounded by family during her final moments.
Melissa was born in Mooresville, Indiana, on January 21, 1952, to Richard and Geraldine Monday. In the late 1950s, her family moved west to California. They settled first in Woodland Hills and then in Leona Valley. It was there that Melissa’s adventurous spirit took root in the wild landscapes. Her early years were spent bareback horse riding and working on the family’s chicken ranch. Her love of wild places continued into her young adult years where she found inspiration and joy in camping and hiking the eastern Sierras. This love culminated in her acquiring her piece of heaven in the foothills of the Sierras as an adult.
In 1994, with determination and courage, Melissa moved herself, two children, and three dogs to Bass Lake. Unfazed by the lack of immediate employment, she found her footing as a secretary with the Bass Lake School District after working temporary jobs for a year.
Throughout her life, Melissa’s kindness and empathy were unwavering. She was a pillar of support for her children, providing guidance without imposing answers, and empowering them to follow their passions. Ever-present in her kids’ lives, she never missed a sports event or theater production her children were involved in, and always cheered them on. On her own time, Melissa was an avid gardener and enjoyed being outside watching wildlife. She always had a book nearby to read, and could often be found in a comfortable chair or outside on her porch turning the pages of another novel.
Her stubborn independence, and penchant for solitude earned her the loving nickname of the family’s “feral cat.” Yet, her kindness and selflessness always shone through, making her an exceptional mother, grandmother, and friend. Her philosophy of living without regret and cherishing what she had resonated in every aspect of her life.
She is survived by her son Matthew and daughter-in-law Kathryn, her daughter Katharine and son-in-law Jesse, her sister Janel, her brother David, and three grandchildren – Maggie, Silas, and Eleanor. She was preceded in death by her mother and father Richard and Geraldine Monday, and her sister Deborah Peterson.
In remembering Melissa, we celebrate a life well-lived, filled with passion, love, and a spirit that remained fiercely independent and eternally kind. One of Melissa’s wishes was that there would be no funeral held for her. Instead, a celebration of her life will be held near the area of Bass Lake, CA in the spring of 2024.