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Melissa Ann (Kvale) Kerr

Melissa Ann (Kvale) Kerr
  • November 15, 1974 - February 23, 2020
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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“She was my sweet sister in law. Wherever she is it's a better place with her there. ”
1 of 3 | Posted by: Kevin McDermot - Monticello, IA

“My deepest sympathies and prayers are with you all during this difficult time. ”
2 of 3 | Posted by: Bev & Jeff Heitland - Winona, MN

“She accomplished more in her short life than many do in 80 years or more! So many, whose lives she touched, will miss her--but enjoy those memories...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Karen Monson - Forest City, IA


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Melissa Ann (Kvale) Kerr passed away February 23, 2020 after a year-long battle with cancer. A celebration of life will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church at 246 S Clark St. in Forest City, IA on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 11:00am.
Melissa Ann was born November 15, 1974 in Albert Lea, MN, the daughter of Ronald and Donna (Thayer) Kvale. She was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in her home town of Forest City, Iowa where she was baptized, confirmed, and married. She graduated from Forest City High School in 1993. A lifelong learner, she received degrees from Waldorf College, the University of Iowa, Buena Vista, and eventually followed her father's footsteps as a science educator receiving her master's in chemistry from North Carolina Central University in Durham. While attending NCCU she wrote articles for the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, dumbing down papers so that Congress could eventually understand them. (She never was sure if her attempts were successful). After graduation, she worked as a program coordinator for the micro- and nanotechnology program in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. Her favorite part of this job involved inspiring the next generation of young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. She ran workshops for young adults (4th grade and up) enabling them to gain hands-on experiences in a high-tech lab setting. She loved her work and her coworkers and was passionate enough about it to continue working until a week before her passing. While attending the University of Iowa, she met her soul's companion and partner in life, Matt Kerr. They were married on August 9th, 1997. In 2002, after experiencing some cabin fever, they pinned a map to the wall, Melissa threw a dart behind her back, and fate landed them in Raleigh, NC. Ten years later they welcomed Jude Seunghyun Kerr into their lives, making their family complete. Jude has been the joy of their lives ever since.
Melissa's passions were wide and varied. She embraced many adventures with enthusiasm – no matter how odd or unpleasant others might think they would be – but she especially loved any activity that would take her out in nature and the outdoors. She loved the arts and music and, later in life, she especially embraced photography as a favored medium. People were drawn to Melissa and her indomitable spirit. She was grounded, a stable listener, and was incredibly adept at reading people.
She is survived by her husband Matt and son Jude both of Durham, NC; parents Ron and Donna Kvale of Forest City, IA; sisters: Shellie Kvale of Olwein, IA, and Heidi (Daniel) Van Every of Salem, AL; brother Bryon Kvale of Forest City, IA; in-laws Ronald and Shirley Kerr of Wapallo, IA; many nieces and nephews, cousins and a multitude of friends.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents: Gilbert and Cora Kvale, LeRoy Thayer, Nellie Nichols, and Esther and Carl Johnson.