Melissa Lynn Rau
April 7, 1962 - August 14, 2023
Melissa was born into a loving family to Harold and Myrtle Richards at Grass Valley, California. Her brother, Jason, had already arrived; she was followed by her sisters, Mary and Marcella. Much later, the family learned they had a half sister, Jennifer, whom they welcomed into the fold. Melissa loved the outdoors. She had a Honda 90 motorcycle in Yerrington, Nevada and spent many hours combing the desert for arrowheads and just being outside. Melissa worked from an early age, earning enough money as a teen to buy her first car, a Chevy Nova. She was hired on the Bristlecone YCC crew for her first forest job. Melissa enrolled in the Sierra College Forestry Program at Rocklin California where she met Ralph, who was in the year ahead of her. They both earned AS degrees in Forestry there. They were married on July 28, 1984 at Fair Oaks, California. Melissa worked seven seasons for the US Forest Service mostly in wildland fire: on an engine crew, Krassel Helitack in Idaho, and prevention in Winthrop, WA. They have two children, Elizabeth and Stuart, born in Redding, California. The family moved several times for Ralph’s career in the Forest Service, living in several States in the west and south. While in Alabama, Melissa earned a BS Degree in Accounting at the University of North Alabama, achieving a 4.0 GPA while working and taking care of her family. Melissa enjoyed working and worked for a variety of businesses: office manager of an Electric CO-OP, Champion Timber Company as a harvesting accountant (one of her favorite jobs), Times Daily Newspaper, a logistics company, a steel manufacturing company, the City of Vernal, A licensed insurance agent at Challis Insurance, and the Idaho Department of Corrections in Cottonwood. Melissa barely missed a day of work her entire life. She made many friends and was always highly thought of as an employee and co-worker.
Melissa was most about her family. She loved us all from deep within herself, and we in turn returned that love to her, comforted and made better by her caress and loving care. Our family was always on the go. She loved to plan for people. We traveled all over: camping, amusement parks, zoos, plays, parks, hiking and so on. We were first to arrive and the very last to leave. We took family vacations together right up through this year; just happy to be happy together no matter what it was. The family loves board games and every time we got together we spent hours playing games. It was always a time of merriment. Melissa and Ralph went to all of Stuart and Elizabeth’s school events and sports throughout the years of school and enjoyed it all. We went into the forest together every year to cut a Christmas tree, and Christmas and New Years were filled with fun and games. Melissa and Ralph loved their pets. They lived their lives with us and shared in many of the things the family did. They were also held in the family’s love and affection, and responded in kind. Cats were Kitty, Smoky, Blackie, and Penelope. Dogs were Tippi, Polly, Tag, Scout, Rusty, and lastly Katie and Maggie. Melissa and Ralph were avid readers and spent many hours in the comfort of each others company reading and sharing what we read. Melissa and Ralph took a trip to Scotland together in 2019, and true to family form, got up early and stayed up late squeezing in together every adventure we could. For years Melissa and Ralph made trips to Depoe Bay and discovered whale watching. Melissa loved this. We would get up early, travel up and down the coast enjoying the sea from sun up until the sun slipped below the horizon. Her eyes were alight with happiness and we played like kids all through the days.
In April we traveled to Mississippi and were present for the birth of our first grandchild Mackenzie, to our daughter Elizabeth and son in law Jordan.
Melissa is survived by her husband, son, daughter and son-in-law, granddaughter, siblings and six nieces and nephews.
In all our lives Melissa has been our loving companion, there for each of us and all of us. For me, her husband, she was my love, the mother of our children, and the best friend I ever could have imagined. She is embedded in our hearts as we are in hers, and so forever she will travel with us and care for us, and us for her, in the time to come.
The family asks that no flowers or other be sent.
A service will be held for Melissa at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 311 South Hall Street, Grangeville, Idaho on Thursday, September 7, 2023 at 10:00 am. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com.