Melissa Joye Karis Fox Zarlengo, 33, of West Palm Beach, Fla., passed into eternal life Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at the home of her parents.
Melissa is the daughter of Diane and Mark Mettler and Paul Karis.
She was preceded in death by her paternal grandmother, Clara Karis, and the love her life and soulmate, Dr. Joseph Zarlengo. He preceded her in death in February of this year.
She is survived by her daughters, whom she loved with all heart and soul, Ivy Fox and Francesca Zarlengo; grandparents, John and Margaret Pastula; sisters, Mary Beth and Ann Marie Karis; aunts and uncles, Sharon and Bob Whittaker and Linda and David Schuler; cousins, Ainsley and husband, John Kuppler, Caitlin Schuler, Ashley and husband, James Davis, and their two daughters, and Shelby Whittaker and her daughter; as well as many close friends.
Melissa's engaging personality, beauty and talent showed through in that she was involved with modeling at an early age for Gail Barbrie Modeling. She was a dancer with David Blight, participating in tap, jazz and hip-hop, winning numerous awards. Melissa graduated from Dallas High School, Dallas, in 1999, where she enjoyed cheerleading, participating in field hockey, and was a member of the ski club.
Melissa graduated as class president and with honors from Wilkes-Barre Vocational and Technical School as a licensed practical nurse in 2003. She then started her nursing career at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital as an LPN. She later went back to pursue her degree as a registered nurse at Wilkes University. She was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. She made the dean's list and graduated cum laude with her bachelor's degree in nursing in 2006. She went on to work as a critical care nurse at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital following graduation. She later moved to West Palm Beach, where she was employed as a home health nurse and later a school nurse for the local school district.
Melissa continued to pursue her modeling career as well as her love of pageantry. She competed in various pageant systems including the United States system, US Continental, and most recently America's US Miss. Melissa held pageantry titles as Mrs. Luzerne County, Mrs. Palm Beach, Mrs. Florida, and her most recent national title as America's US Ms. 2014.
Melissa's accomplishments included recently starting a cheerleading program for her daughter, Ivy's school. Melissa was so happy to be able to do this for her daughter and her classmates, giving them an opportunity they otherwise may have not had.
Melissa's greatest accomplishment in life, though, was her two daughters, Ivy and Francesca. Her love for them was endless. She was so proud of them and their accomplishments. She couldn't imagine her life without them.
Melissa enjoyed skiing, traveling, watersports, and spending time with her family and her late husband, Joe. They had a love like none other. Melissa also enjoyed spending time with her friends, old and new. Melissa was a beautiful person inside and out. She would do anything for anyone. She had a big heart and anyone who knew her could see it. She lit up any room she walked into. She touched the lives of so many people. She will be missed greatly by all that knew her. Our lives will never be the same without her.
Funeral arrangements are by Mamary-Durkin Funeral Service, 59 Parrish St., Wilkes-Barre.
Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
Mamary-Durkin Funeral Service, Inc - Wilkes Barre
59 Parrish St.
Wilkes Barre, PA 18702
Published in Citizens' Voice on Aug. 2, 2014