Obituary: Melinda Sue Casey

On Feb. 20, 2017, Melinda Sue Casey (née Bucher) died. Three months after her 61st birthday, Melinda lost her16-year battle with metastatic breast cancer. Melinda spent her last days surrounded by loving family, friends from the neighborhood, church and Al-Anon groups, as well as St. Aidan’s deacon, priest, and two faithful pets.

Melinda was born on Nov. 23, 1955, in Washington D.C., to William H. Bucher, M.D. and Ida M. Bucher. ‘Mel,’ the youngest child, moved to L.A. with her family at the age of five. In high school, she had the opportunity to work in Nice, France for a year as an au pair, an experience she forever cherished. Learning French whetted her appetite for language; she became fluent in Spanish. Both languages proved useful after marrying the love of her life, John Casey, and travelling the world together. 

Melinda felt a calling to pursue a bilingual teaching credential and, after attending California State University, Chico, began her career at an elementary school in Oxnard, while living with her parents in Ventura. Many of those in her class were the children of farm workers. 

“The kids were lucky to have a teacher as skilled and caring as Melinda, determined to add continuity to their lives,” a loved one said.  

Not long after her relocation to Ventura, Melinda met John; the two married in 1986. Alison Marie’s birth in 1987 gave Melinda a brief respite from teaching to rear ‘Ali’ but, with the help of both mothers-in-law, Melinda soon began teaching ESL to adults at Van Nuys High School. Four years and nine months later, Melinda had her last child, Matthew Coleman. ‘Matt’ was her darling and she nurtured him tirelessly. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, Melinda underwent chemotherapy while supporting the kids’ extracurricular activities and maintaining the house. She retired at 45.

“For the rest of her life, though, she was the hardest-working unpaid person known to any of us,” a loved one wrote.

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In the early 2000s, Melinda embraced St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Malibu, singing in the choir and helping homeless populations both in Los Angeles and Mexico. Melinda was even on the church board at St. Aidan’s that selected the new priest, Rev. Joyce Stickney. 

Stickney, with friend and St. Aidan’s deacon Paul Elder, will conduct Melinda’s service on March 25 at 11a.m. A celebration of Melinda’s life and a time for food and reflection will follow in the courtyard. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Malibu.

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