OBITUARY

Melissa Mary Parks

July 20, 1969March 22, 2019
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The world grew dimmer with the death of Melissa Mary Parks on March 22, 2019, in New York City. Melissa, born on July 20, 1969, in Bangkok, Thailand, is the daughter of Ronnie Parks and Diane Rogers Parks of El Paso, Texas. She is survived by her sister, Pamela Parks Davis, and brother in law, Darryl Davis of The Woodlands, Texas, and was preceded in death by her mother, Diane. Melissa was a professional opera, concert and musical theatre performer. She was a 1987 graduate of Hanks High School in El Paso, Texas, and continued her education at West Texas State University. From WT she attended the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where she finished a very rigorous program in order to enter the world of professional singing. Highlights of her career include winning the Pavarotti Vocal Competition that launched her professional life. She was among the leading players in New York City Opera’s national tour of “Daughter of the Regiment.” She performed with the El Paso Opera for several productions and was a guest soloist with the El Paso Symphony’s performance of the Messiah. She performed across the entire United States in a wide variety of roles and was a leading player in the first English speaking “Sweeney Todd” across Italy. She was a soloist with the New York Philharmonic on two separate occasions most notably in the critically acclaimed “Le Grande Macabre.” She was perhaps most well know for her expertise in Gilbert and Sullivan roles and was sought after for productions across the country. Melissa was an extreme advocate for the arts and conducted numerous master classes and taught for a summer with the El Paso Music Conservatory. Wherever she performed she found time to work with student singers and encourage them to follow their dreams. Visitation will occur on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at Martin Funeral Home East, 1460 George Dieter from 6:00 – 8:00pm. A celebration of Melissa’s life will be held on Friday, March 29, 2019 at Vista Ysleta Methodist Church in El Paso at 11860 Rojas at 2:30pm. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the El Paso Conservatory of Music (801 N. Mesa Street, El Paso, TX, 79902) or The Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org) in Melissa’s memory.

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, March 28, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, March 29, 2019
REMEMBERING

Melissa Mary Parks

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Michelle Davis

April 5, 2019

Melissa was my best friend, she was my confidante, my partner in crime. We did so much at the church taking turns being President of the youth group, of the choir, and any other thing we could do for the people of the church. I remember David Pena climbing a tree to shake the pecans out when we were all hired to pick them up for harvesting. We built a stage, laid concrete, put a roof on a church, and we even put linoleum in a kitchen. We had so much fun just acting silly. Melissa, I Miss YOU!!!

Tanja Pineda

March 29, 2019

In high school she directed a short play she wrote and I was in it. I always liked her. She was really cool but always professional even as a teen. We talked about the play "Picnic" once. I am very sadden that she is no longer here but I know she lived life to the fullest. I am bless that I knew her. Oh yes one last thing when she was pleased with things...she always paused then she would smile. That is what I really liked about her.

Sherrie Caplan

March 29, 2019

I first met Melissa, I think it was the summer of 2006 when Melissa and Indra came for a visit to my dad's home in NJ while I was visiting. I remember it as though it were yesterday. To me, Melissa was a rare person that you instantly feel 100 percent at ease with. My family was treated to an impromptu singing of Oklahoma of the great trio Katie, Indra and Melissa that visit. We had fun in the sun and pool and it was nice to have new family. Though I only spent time with Melissa one other time at Todd and Katie's wedding, where I was once again blessed to hear her sing in an intimate setting. More importantly, I got to witness the amazing friendship she shared with Todd, Katie, Indra and their wide but close group of friends. It was and will continue to be something I hold special. I love not only how the friends are bonded, but the families. Sending love to all of Melissa's friends and family from the Caplan-Svartz Family spread from TX to Arkansas and Czech Republic. We are all better for having known Melissa.

Jan Taylor

March 27, 2019

I sang with Melissa a couple of years at synagogue, High Holidays. She was a fun, always cheerful colleague, and, of co urse, a fabulous singer. I believe there are still a few comments we wrote in the music! Goodbye, dear Melissa. RIP.

Keith Jurosko

March 27, 2019

I had the extraordinary privilege & good fortune to sing with Melissa on several occasions. She was a commanding presence & a perfect colleague.
We performed together in Gilbert & Sullivan, and the infectious joy of those works combined with the effervescence of her personality & presence,
made those performances unforgettable for me ! She was magical...on stage & off, and one of the finest singing actresses I have ever had the pleasure of
working with ! Her passing has left all who knew & loved her bereft beyond words, but her presence in our lives ( for however short a time ) will
forever remind us of the truest meaning of kindness, joy, humanity at its best, laughter, music & of course LOVE !!! Farewell Dearest Melissa !
I love you !!!

Nelson LeDuc

March 27, 2019

I had the honor of meeting Melissa on the occasion of her many appearances with Utah Opera Company. Although I am "just" a chorus member, she was as kind and friendly to me and the other chorus members as she was to any of her peers. She was such a shining light and I'm so sad that I will not get to bask in that light again.
You are so very dearly loved and will be so sorely missed, Melissa.

Michael I’Hesrn

March 26, 2019

I had the immense good fortune to share the stage (and indeed the tour bus) with Melissa during the NYCO Daughter of the Regiment National Tour! We sang 86 performances in 66 cities all across the US! I count myself lucky to have known her and greatly admired her superb talent! I know the Operatic Stars who make up the Heavens will welcome her into her eternal rest! She will be missed!!!!

Wende Anderson

March 26, 2019

Melissa was a ray of sunshine in the heart of Grace United Methodist church. She sang songs like angles and always spread good cheer. Watching her and my sister play together was the essence of childhood as it should be. Melissa, you are loved and you will be missed.

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