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Millikin University > Alumni & Friends > Stay Connected > Millikin Quarterly > Memorials > Posts > Gaden, Melanie '76

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

Melanie Ruth Gaden died Sept. 27, 2011. Wherever there is a dog to love, a Diana Ross song to sing, or a beautiful spread of Cosmos flowers to enjoy, Melanie Ruth Gaden can now enjoy it all, without pain. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2009, she remained strong and positive while maintaining her signature sense of humor. Melanie's struggle with cancer ended peacefully on September 27, 2011 at age 57.

Born in Wheaton, IL, to Warren and Jane Gaden, Melanie graduated from Wheaton North High School in 1972. She attended Millikin University where she made lifelong friends. Melanie served as President of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and earned a B.A. degree in American Studies in 1976. She always treasured her college years and reminisced frequently as she neared the end of her life.

Melanie moved to Minneapolis in 1979 and worked in public relations for Knutson Construction, Edina Realty and served as office manager for Arthur Dickey Architects in Edina. Her skills and talents far exceeded any one organization. Melanie further contributed as a freelance writer, graphic designer and a potter. Throughout her life's journey, Melanie nourished deep and meaningful relationships. Her family and friends will always remember her independent nature, 'old school' ways and dry sense of humor. She had a remarkable ability to make friends wherever she went, to keep them and to cherish them. She lived a simple, yet full life. Melanie is survived by her sister, Holly Gaden Bushnell, nephews, David (Karen) Bushnell and Peter (Elizabeth) Bushnell and several cousins. Others include her forever friend, Sue Rose, beloved dog Teddy, and many friends she adopted as family, including the James and Mary Duncan family.

Melanie gave generously throughout her life. She volunteered for 10-years as a Minneapolis Election Judge and was a 20-year blood donor with Memorial Blood Centers.

Additionally, Melanie was a long-time contributor and volunteer to the Minneapolis Heart Institute, Animal Humane Society, and Edina Art Center. In death, as in life, her thoughtful and generous spirit will continue to support others. Melanie chose to donate her body to the University of Minnesota Medical School to help advance research and education. She will later return to Wheaton, IL to be reunited with her parents.

Melanie would be honored to know that you remembered her by adopting a pet, contributing to the Animal Humane Society, donating blood or contributing to the Memorial Blood Centers.


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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL