FRESNO, CALIF. - Dr. Melissa Margaret Dowd, 30, a native of Tacoma, Wash., resident of Fresno for five months, and former York County resident, died Nov. 16, 2012, in Fresno, as a result of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident. She was in her first year of residency at U.C.S.F. Fresno Community Hospital.
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Melissa was a 2000 graduate of Grafton High School; was a 2005 graduate from Virginia Tech with B.S. degrees in biology and psychology, and Master's in biology; a 2007 graduate from Emory University with a Master's in epidemiology; and in 2012 received her M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine. As part of her medical education, she spent time in Kenya doing research for burn victims, Tanzania at an AIDS orphanage, and Sierra Leone at a health clinic. She also worked at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta after graduating from Emory.
Melissa was a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, American Medical Society, American Public Health Association, American Society of Microbiology, and Phi Beta Kappa.
While at Virginia Tech, she was section leader for the VTones in the Marching Virginians. She always enjoyed traveling with friends and loved snowboarding.
Melissa is survived by her mother, Doreen Anastas, of Middleboro, Mass.; her father, Steve Dowd and wife, Pattie, of Tabb; two brothers, Brian Dowd and wife, Angie and their children, d'Artagnan, Carol, Haley, and Kaytlynn, and Jim Dowd and girlfriend, Brittany, all of Newport News; a sister, Amy Lerstad and friend, David and her son, Mikey, all of Newport News; aunts and uncles, Lois and Ed Panziera, of California, Bill and Sue Anastas, of California, Alan and Jo Ann Dowd, of Minnesota, and Darlene Anastas, of Massachusetts; and numerous cousins.
The family will receive friends Friday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Claytor Rollins Funeral Home, Poquoson. A graveside service will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m., at Parklawn Memorial Park, Hampton, by Pastor Mark Jernigan. A celebration of Melissa's life will also be held this Saturday at noon, at Yorkminster Presbyterian Church, Grafton by Pastor Jernigan.
Memorial contributions may be made to Dr. Melissa Dowd Memorial Fund at UCSF-Fresno for assisting resident doctor's in crisis, because of her impact on the resident program there. Make checks to CCFMG (Central California Faculty Medical Group), c/o Mary Swenson, 155 N. Fresno St., Ste. 205, Fresno, CA, 39701; or to Doctors without Borders (or Medecins Sans Frontieres). Melissa had thought about working with this organization someday. She partially chose emergency medicine as a career as it would allow her to do international health programs like this. (www.doctorswithoutborders.org); or to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) because of how much love and joy Bailey had brought into her life (www.aspca.org). Online condolences to www.claytorrollins.com.
"Melissa could not finish the path she chose. Pick up the torch and hold it high and make a difference in the lives of others." View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.
Published in Daily Press from Nov. 28 to Nov. 29, 2012