Of Minneapolis and many places, has died, aged 33. Melissa’s life was far too short, but full of so much.
Melissa graduated in 2008 from Sibley High School (now Two Rivers High School), in 2012 with a BA in physics and minor concentration in Japanese from Lawrence University, and in 2020 with a PhD from the University of California, Riverside in Mechanical Engineering.
Melissa was a scientist, hugely respected by the peers and mentors she worked with on the journey to earning her PhD while studying light microscopy and synthetic biology. Melissa chased her passions, becoming proficient in Japanese and living there on her own for a year while teaching English. Melissa’s creativity and craftsmanship never ceased to draw people to her, and her fiber art, ceramic work, sketching, painting, and writing will continue to memorialize her as they are spread throughout her communities. Melissa also found and loved being part of a welcoming LGBT+ community through playing soccer in Minneapolis, something which fulfilled a part of her life that never felt fully realized to her.
Melissa’s husband, Stephen Exarhos, and her cats, Tommy and Asia continue to care for her home in Minneapolis. They are joined in caring for Melissa’s memory by her parents, William and Ann Klocke (Regan) and brother, Blake Klocke, all of Mendota Heights, MN, and by her grandmother, Betty Decker (Rohrich) of Fargo, ND, and by all her numerous family and friends. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Roger Klocke of Fargo, ND and James and Noreen Regan of Burnsville, MN.
Please join us in celebrating Melissa’s life and legacy on Saturday, January 13, between 1 pm and 5 pm at Cremation Society of Minnesota, 4343 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55409. There will be a short service at the same location at 2:30 pm CST that will be streamed for those who cannot travel. Please send a message to LetMeHoldMelissasHand@gmail.com to request details on how to access this stream. It will also be recorded.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Melissa
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society of Minnesota