Melinda S. Beyerlein: In Memoriam

An always-present, nonjudgmental sounding board and uncompensated therapist for the desperately distressed. Patiently, empathetically, she facilitated the success of others as they waded through such debilitating traumas as hangnails and paper cuts. Melinda Beyerlein’s professional excellence extended equally to all, simultaneously maintaining genuine caring for the many, many who invaded her workspace: on foot, by telephone and via email.

She possessed the kind of nondiscriminatory tolerance, broad appreciation and deep personal commitment most aspire to and few achieve. Your project became hers; not in the possessive but in the invested sense.

Her professional position was far more than the clerical one the job title implied. There was that, of course: processing an endless stream of paperwork for students, faculty, and a small army of other individuals and departments.

But there was also this: initiating and assisting with event planning ranging from professional conferences involving hundreds to birthday celebrations embracing a few. Coordinating the schedules of those who confuse themselves with POTUS was within her scope of abilities. And all done with good cheer. Indeed, Melinda volunteered to take on such responsibilities.

She asked questions. The kind that begin with “What can I do?” and “How can I help?” instead of “Do I have to?” or “Who, me?” and the ever-popular “I’m really busy.”

As well, she was tolerant beyond reason all while meeting the demands of those incapable of doing that which they demanded of her.

Melinda epitomized the person with whom we all want to work but rarely seem to find. A pleasant demeanor, a sunny and optimistic outlook, an unbridled ability to independently accomplish tasks and problem-solve, a willingness – indeed, eagerness – to go an extra step or make a longer leap.

Someone who listened more than she spoke, selfless instead of selfish, appreciative even (maybe especially) when none was due, Melinda found happiness in the face of misery and she mentored – students as often as faculty and co-workers – by example.

In addition to her full-time job, she managed the 24/7/365 job of raising two children plus a part-time position at a retail store. Rarely speaking of either, and when she did never complaining, more often she presented stories of the store or the kids as funny anecdotes.

Only rarely have I been blessed – and though I am not religious, that is the best, most accurate word – with such an exemplary professional partner. Melinda was responsible for advancing and improving the enterprise in which we were together engaged.

Melinda S. Beyerlein, March 27, 1958 – September 9, 2017.

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