Melissa P. Withers, 68, died Feb. 6, 2021, in Post Falls, Idaho, following a six-year battle with breast cancer. She was born Aug. 24, 1952 in Windsor, North Carolina.
Melissa had a long career as a registered nurse, spending five years in Ketchikan with PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
She came to Ketchikan in 2006 and 2007 as a traveling nurse and, in 2008, accepted a full-time nursing position on New Horizons Transitional Care Unit. She also taught the Certified Nursing Assistant class through the University of Alaska Southeast, where she instructed more than 60 students.
Her husband, David Smith, worked at KMC as a social worker until the couple moved to Post Falls in 2014.
Melissa worked at Rehab Hospital of the Northwest in Post Falls, Idaho. A memorial garden is being established there this spring by the hospital in Melissa’s memory, according to her husband.
“For almost 50 years,” her family writes, “Melissa served as a nurse with inspiration, resourcefulness, mindfulness, intelligence, compassion, empathy, purposefulness, and the care of the patient above all else.”
Born on the outer banks of North Carolina, Melissa remained a devoted Tar Heels fan her entire life. She would wear her North Carolina Nursing Smock at KMC on days the University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team played on television — usually during a tournament.
“Melissa was always a ‘hit’” her family writes. “Showing how much she truly enjoyed life. And she always encouraged others to join in celebrating any and all events.”
She is survived by her husband and daughters, Rebekah, Kathryn and Sarah; as well as grandchildren.
Mrs. Withers’ remains were cremated and her ashes will be scattered in Alaska and North Carolina.