SIEGAL MELISSA CYNTHIA SIEGAL Melissa Cynthia Siegal died of liver failure September 8, 2011 at Georgetown University Hospital. She was 56. She died surrounded by her disconsolate family and friends, whose suffering likely exceeded Melissa's: her pain was deftly managed by the skilled and attentive RNs of C42, the medical intensive care unit at Georgetown. A native of Miami, Florida, she attended Dearborn School in Coral Gables, and the Baldwin School of New York, before earning a bachelor's degree at the American College in Paris. There she met her former husband, Washington attorney Geoffrey Bestor. Their daughter, Amanda, is a senior at Princeton, majoring in architecture. Returning to the U.S. after college, Melissa found work washing the feet of the poor-or something quite like it-in some dreary Ann Arbor institution, while her husband attended Michigan Law. He would later join a prominent Manhattan law firm in order to subsidize Melissa's Sutton Place Gourmet student meal plan, while she attended American Universi- ty's Washington College of Law. After graduating in 1985, Melissa began her career at Decklebaum, Ogens and Fischer; she would practice law there and elsewhere in the Washington, D.C. area, for several years, before deteriorating health forced her into early retirement. She then devoted all her energy to raising Amanda. In addition to her daughter, she leaves behind her mother and father and their spouses, two brothers, and significant others, whose sense of loss is tempered only by the joy of having known the brilliant, unique, impossible Melissa. Plans call for Melissa's ashes to be scattered in her favorite haunts around Paris. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you dote upon your children; that you make their education your highest priority; that you tolerate someone difficult to tolerate; that you summon patience when there is no more to summon; that you turn to someone you love, right now, and tell them so.
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Published in The Washington Post on September 18, 2011