Services for Melody Jo Perkes, 70, of Kirtland, will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at the Kirtland Community of Christ Chapel, 9017 Chillicothe Road, Kirtland.
Graveside services will immediately follow services at the Kirtland Historic North Cemetery (adjacent to the Kirtland Mormon Temple) at which time, the bells will toll to commemorate each year of her life.
Born May 5, 1942, in Cleveland, Ms. Perkes died Jan. 15, 2013, with her family and friends at her side, from complications of pneumonia after enduring several combinations of chemotherapy for Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (brain cancer).
A 40-year career educator, counselor and chair of the guidance department at Willoughby South High School in Willoughby-Eastlake, she held various certifications as a cognitive behavior therapist, addiction specialist, domestic violence counselor, and was a diplomat for the American Psychotherapy Association. She worked tirelessly to create various internal programs for the school to support wellness, career awareness and success for the student population.
She was an adult counselor and academic advisor for the Lake Erie Consortium for Manpower Development Training, honorary admissions officer for the United States Coast Guard
and Gold Bar recruiter for the U.S. Army/West Point Academy.
She received an undergraduate degree from Lake Erie College in Spanish and elementary and secondary education with additional training at the University of Madrid, Spain, Iberoamericana Universidad in Mexico, XIAMEN University, Peoples Republic of China and Northern Arizona University, Hopi and Navajo Indian Educational Perspectives to mention a few. She obtained a master's degree in guidance and counseling from John Carroll University.
Outside of the educational field, she worked as a model for Saks Fifth Avenue, acted in various television commercials, and did professional voiceover.
During her retirement, she was involved in several professional boards, and was one of the founders of the Chrysalis Adventure, an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Program dedicated to the development of positive life skills for youth and military veterans. She trained her dog, a Rottweiller named Baron, to work as a therapy dog in University Hospitals' Pet Pals Program and John Carroll University Outreach Program with great success.
An avid supporter of animal rights, she was an annual contributor to the Geauga Humane Society and an ongoing member of the Holden Arboretum. She loved music, dancing and played the dulcimer.
Her family and friends will remember her great smile, open heart and desire to always help others. She never gave up the fight against her cancer and to the very end she was cheerful and charming.
She was the daughter of the late Fred T. Perkes and late Josephine C. Perkes, who were the owners of Perkes Realty and built the Lakeland Professional Center off Munson Road in Mentor.
She is survived by her sister, Lindy Perkes with everlasting love.
Pastor Ken Sowers of the Mentor Prince of Peace Church, a former student of Melody, will officiate at the services.
Arrangements are being handled by the McMahon-Coyne-Vitantonio Funeral Home, 38001 Euclid Ave., Willoughby, 440-942-0700.www.MCVfuneralhomes.com