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Melanie Anne (Westendarp) Sowa

December 10, 1955 ~ December 12, 2019 (age 64)

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Melanie Anne Sowa



****Melanie Anne Sowa Celebration of Life, Dec 28, 2019 at 2:00-5:00P. DAP, 2201 Lancaster Ave, Wilmington, DE 19805 ALL ARE WELCOME HERE. See Facebook event for details.


Melanie Anne Sowa was born in Massachusetts on December 10, 1955 to Joan Winstead and Bert Westendarp.  While growing up, she enjoyed time outdoors, riding her bike, and playing with Uncle Jim and friends. Miraculously, as a young girl, she succeeded at the daring & risky rescue of a friend who had fallen into frozen water.  This incident, which displayed her intrinsic qualities of selflessness and altruism would mature over the course of Melanie’s lifetime, and ultimately define the true essence of her spirit. During her sixty-four trips around the sun, Massachusetts, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware were all places that Melanie called home.  But no matter the zip code, she was certain to leave a sparkling trail of unwavering generosity, laugh-’til-you-cry moments, and her magically infectious smile wherever she went. 


Her compassionate heart and generous spirit organically evolved into a career spent working with youth in various capacities. She taught a life skills program at the HB duPont Middle School from 1995-1996, a Consumer Science program at the Ferris School for Boys from 1996-2006, then she later became the Guidance Counselor from 2006 until 2016.  Most recently, she worked as the Facilitator of Moral Recognition Therapy at the James Vaughn Correctional Facility from 2016 until present.  Although her places of employment changed and evolved over the years, Melanie’s benevolent heart and steadfast commitment to her students always remained constant.  She was a cheerleader, an encourager, and a friend to the many young men and women that she served.  It takes a special gift to work with incarcerated individuals.  However, Mel’s down to earth and approachable nature helped to build foundations of mutually respectful relationships with a part of the population that many would struggle to relate to.  Melanie’s ability and determination to find the good in each of her students changed countless lives for the better, and to witness this was both admirable and awe-inspiring.


She loved her students and her work very much.  However unequivocally, her two greatest loves in this lifetime were her daughter, Jocelyn, and her granddaughter, Olivia Pearl, (“OP”).  She was incredibly proud of Jocelyn’s resilience & strength.  She remained in awe watching her raise her granddaughter and work hard to give OP a great life as a single mom.  Upon her recent retirement, she was excited to finally be able to join them in their endeavors and looked forward to cultivating dreams and adventures for the three of them to experience together.


This world will most miss Melanie’s laughter, her smile, and her staunch generosity.  Recently retired, her free time was spent with rescue cats and dogs, learning & enjoying the art of Reiki, watching YouTube, listening to 2Pac, enjoying time with her granddaughter, and of course, helping others.  Melanie had recently developed an overwhelming desire to research her dream:  moving to the mountains of West Virginia, which had called to her for her entire life.  As John Muir’s quote dictated, “The mountains are calling, and I must go” - and it seems that it was Melanie’s time to answer that calling.


Although she will be sorely missed by Jocelyn and OP, her step-family the Winstead’s, her half-sibling, many cousins and loving family members, friends, coworkers and former students, the ripple effect that her kind spirit left on this world will not soon be forgotten.  One of her favorite quotes was the following by Dr. Seuss, (whom she loved): “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”  It would be Melanie’s last wish not to let her passing define her life or destroy the spirits of her loved ones, but rather to strengthen the hearts of those left behind.  We hope you will join us in finding that strength and living a life filled with beautiful, joyful, active, laugh-’til-you-cry moments, in Melanie’s legacy.


There will be a private ceremony on Dec. 21st in Hockessin, DE and a Celebration of Melanie's Life on Dec. 28th at 2 pm.  Please check the Facebook page for details.


 In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Surf Dog Ricochet , in care of Crouch Funeral Home, 127 S. Main St., North East, MD 21901.


A place to share memories is Loving Memories of Melanie, please follow the link A mailing address for the family is Ms. Sowa | c/o Rosalyn Johnson | 46591 Kingschase Ct | Sterling, VA 20165 |




To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melanie Anne (Westendarp) Sowa, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
December 28, 2019

2:00 PM
Delaware Association of Police
2201 Lancaster Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19805

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