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August 8, 1976 ~ March 4, 2023 (age 46) 46 Years Old
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Melissa was born in Columbia. SC on August 8, 1976 to Barbara D. Tidwell and Harry C. Neill Jr. She was raised in West Columbia, where she worked at Zesto and graduated from Brookland- Cayce High School. She was the most strong-willed and the least selfish determined young mother there was. Her unimaginable strength came from her dedication to her three beautiful children, who she adored every moment with creating new memories, especially playing ball. Never would she have imagined the fireworks on the Fourth of July, which sparked a flame that would prove to be a lifetime with her soulmate, Mark Dolezel. Throughout the most difficult battle of her life, she shared her experiences to help inspire others. Melissa’s goal was to live for the next memory. She always wore her heart on her sleeve, and a contagious smile on her face. She was extremely hard working, which she proved every day in Richland County as a clerk of court, where she received the Golden Apple Award.
Melissa gained her wings peacefully at home surrounded by her children, fiancé, and many friends on March 4, 2023.
Melissa was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Mary Francis Neill and Harry C. Neill Sr. her maternal grandparents, Mary F. Drawdy and Luther Drawdy, her Aunt Cathy Alvez, Uncle Marvin Drawdy, Uncle Donald Drawdy, and Uncle Ronnie “Red” Neill.
Melissa is survived by her mother and father, Barbara D. Tidwell and Harry C. Neill Jr. Her brother Brandon Clay “BC” Neill; fiancé Mark J. Dolezel; three children, Justin D. Collins (Haley), Haley B. Tata (Dylan), and Jada B. Collins; grandchildren Seth, Asher, and Violet Collins. Many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. She had many beloved friends including her neighbors and lifelong friends, the “Golden Girls” (Mandy, Shelley, Helen), who were always by her side.
A service to celebrate her life will be held at 7:00 pm Monday March 13, 2023 at Brookland United Methodist Church, 541 Meeting Street, West Columbia, SC 29169 officiated by Reverend T. Denman Isgett. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.