Melissa Colene Zaja, 43, Left this world 9 November 2012 to get her wings. She was born in Yuma, AZ though her primary years were spent in Bard, CA. She graduated Yuma High Criminal Class of 1987, earned her Associates from Arizona Western College, and received her Bachelors in Early Education from Northern Arizona University in 2012.
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Melissa was well known throughout the Yuma community, establishing Kelland's Kiddie College in 1996, she seemed to know everyone and have something to do with most child related goings on, whether it had been Toastmasters through the years, The Week of the Young Child. The 4H program, Yuma County AEYC, and even had a chance to help coach youth soccer with the YYSA, Band Mom, Cheer Mom, Rollie PTO President and numerous chairs through the years, adopted Mom and second Mom to too many to list.
She was preceded in death by her Father Darrell R. Bennett, Brother Edward Lee, and Dennis Ray, Grandparents Elsie Moris, Herbert and Florence Bennett. She is survived by her mother, Karen C. Bennett, aunt Ella Sansom, brother Darrell K Bennett (wife Esperanza), husband Jeff Zaja, children Hope and Clay Kelland, Jackie (Royce) McKie, and Alexis Zaja, grandson (yet to hold) Ryen Anthony McKie, nieces and nephews: Alfredo Santamaria (Melissa), Burton Bennett, Vianney and Viri Fuentes-Perezalong, with numerous Aunt's, Uncle's, and Cousin's.
To Our Beloved Wife, Mother, Sister, and Friend to all it seemed alike. She was always there to lend a hand. Though your life was shortened by way to many years, your memory, strength, and always happy smile will stay strong until we meet again. There is no friendship, no love, like that of the love between a parent and a child or a brother and a sister.
A Celebration of Life in Melissa's honor will be held at the American Legion 2575 South Virginia Drive Yuma, AZ on Saturday 17 November 2012 from 4 to 9 pm. With it getting close to the holidays, her husband found it fitting to share a meal with friends one last time, as she loved to cook and bake. Johnson's Mortuary will be handling the Cremation.
Published in The Yuma Sun on Nov. 16, 2012