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Melissa Heagerty

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Melissa Heagerty Obituary

Melissa R. Heagerty

Native of San Jose

Melissa Rose Heagerty, M.D., passed away early Friday, February 25, 2011, at the age of 33. She suffered an apparent terminal blood clot while vacationing in Meriden, CT. Melissa was a doctor in residency at the Arrowhead Medical Center in Colton, California.

Melissa was born at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose on February 11, 1978. She began her formal education at Green Hills Pre-School, attended St. Martin of Tours for grammar school, Archbishop Mitty H.S. and graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Bio-Chemistry and a minor in Theater Arts. She graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, and began a surgical residency at UCSF/East Bay. At the time of her death, she was in the process of completing a very successful first-year residency in family medicine at Arrowhead Medical Center. She expressed to family and friends that her life was indeed full with her career in an excellent place and her year-long nutritional and exercise programs the best in over 20 years.

Melissa is survived by her father John Heagerty and mother Antoinette "Toni" Heagerty, as well as her siblings Teresa Edina Jones, Kerry Jane Benoit, Katie Meneice Zazueta and Michael Dennis Heagerty. She was particularly devoted to her sister-in-law Elizabethe Heagerty and brothers-in-law Rashad Jones, Greg Benoit and Tom Zazueta. "Auntie Mel" loved and doted on her seven nephews and nieces, Matthew Heagerty, William Heagerty, Christopher Zazueta, Carolyn Zazueta, Elaina Benoit, Chiara Benoit and Lilly Jones. Many of her family and closest friends referred to her affectionately as "Mel". Her late grandfather Tony Sanzo was the first to dub her "Dr. Mel," while still a pre-med student. Melissa had the joy of extended families- both adopted and birth-including many siblings, close cousins, aunts, uncles and a surviving grandparent, Estella Sanzo.

The Heagerty family was exceedingly blessed to have adopted Melissa at six weeks of age. Later, at age 22, Melissa searched and found her birth parents, Linda Forest Laux of Massachusetts and Tom Boshuyzen of Connecticut. She developed a wonderful relationship with them and their very large, extended families. Melissa spent her last week of life with both families in New England.

Melissa's passions were medicine, theater arts, movies, sports and Scrabble. Her passion for becoming a doctor was inspired by her ongoing battle with epilepsy and her freshman biology class at Mitty taught by Mr. Tom Motroni. Melissa was an accomplished pianist, swing dancer, vocalist, avid South Beach Diet cook and poetry slam enthusiast. Her theater career peaked during her junior year abroad, appearing in "Nine," on the stage in London, while matriculating in pre-med at Kings College. Melissa gained strength from her Catholic faith, serving as a soloist and pianist at Mass during high school.

A viewing will be held from 5-7pm, followed by a Rosary, Thursday, March 3rd at Lima Family Mortuary, Santa Clara. A funeral Mass of Celebration will be held at 11am, Friday, March 4th at St. Martin of Tours, San Jose. Melissa will be buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos.

Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to two groups particularly special to her, the San Jose Children's Musical Theater or Oakland Children's Hospital.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Mar. 2, 2011
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