Melissa Jane Thurlow Yerxa


Bangor - Melissa Jane Thurlow Yerxa, 71, passed away on January 22, 2019, under the loving care of her son, Terrell Anderson, and her partner of 20 years, Steve Hendershott.

Melissa held many titles: social worker, back-to-the-lander, political activist, breast cancer survivor. The one she held most dear was "mother". She is remembered by her children as an avid reader - breezing through multiple books a week - a history buff, and an exceptional cook.

She was born December 3, 1947, in Farmington, Maine, the daughter of Dr. Charles E. and Myrtle A. Thurlow. Melissa graduated early from Phillips High School and the University of Maine, where she studied history and English. At UMaine, she took part in the late 1960s counterculture movement and carried these ideals with her for the rest of her life.

A dedicated social worker serving Washington, Hancock, and Aroostook counties, she worked with children with special needs for over 40 years, including 31 years for the state, earning the Governor's Longevity Award for Public Service. She served on boards dedicated to alleviating poverty and improving education, and surrounded herself with peers who also sought to improve their communities.

A lover of rock music, Melissa was one of the founding members of the Cooper Hill Music Festival and a devoted attendee of the Rockport Blues Festival. Her friends and family include several musicians and she enjoyed listening to them play late into the night.

Melissa was predeceased by her parents, Dr. Charles and Myrtle Thurlow; and her oldest sister, Susan Spencer. She is survived by her partner, Steve Hendershott; her three beloved children, Shyla Yerxa, Elizabeth Chabe, and Terrell Anderson, and their partners; her grandchild, Sylvan Cody; her brother Norman Thurlow and sister Margaret Richman; and countless relatives, friends and colleagues.

Trips to libraries and bookstores were weekly occurrences in her household. Melissa's children cherish these memories and are donating her large book collection to the local library.

Family and friends are welcome to attend a celebration of Melissa's life beginning at 1 PM Saturday, February 9, 2019, at the Cobscook Community Learning Center, 10 Commissary Point Road, Lubec, ME.
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Published on February 4, 2019
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