Melissa Grace (nee Helmer) Monahan, 41 of Buffalo, NY died peacefully in her mother’s home in Brick on November 23rd with her mother and son by her side after a courageous battle with Appendiceal cancer. She was born in Neptune and raised in Belmar and Portland, Maine. She graduated Deering High School in Portland, Maine and received her Associates Degree at the City College of San Francisco. While residing in San Francisco, she worked at Sony, testing video games and FTC/FSO skate and snowboard shop. In New Jersey she was a property manager and bookkeeper for Genesis Realty. Currently she worked for Ellicott Development in Buffalo, NY. as a construction manager. Melissa loved her job and colleagues at Ellicott Development. They were like family.
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Melissa lived life on her own terms and was a trailblazer. She enjoyed exploring abandoned buildings and graveyards and taking her son Alek on adventures and introduced him to music in an honest and open way. She loved music, museums, and art galleries. One of her more recent hobbies was learning how to ride a motorcycle and how to repair them. She also had a love for classic cars.
Melissa was predeceased by her maternal grandmother Margaret Burney and her Uncle Mark Burney. She is survived by her son Alek Monahan, mother Jeannine Helmer, father James Helmer, brother Christopher Helmer and his wife Erika Hughes, Uncle Sean Burney and his wife JoAnn, Aunt Sharon Burney, Cousins Jamie, Conner & Sadie Tuzeneu, Rico & Emily Burney, Jack, Matthew and Patrick Burney, and numerous cousins and many loving and supportive lifelong friends.
As a single Mom, Melissa worked hard to give her son every opportunity to experience life to the fullest. She was infectiously positive and never quit. One of her favorite quotes from the Descendants was “You can only be a victim if you admit defeat”. During her 2 1/2-year battle with cancer she never once complained or said “why me”. The only lamenting she ever uttered regarding her illness was “this is stupid!”. She made the best of every situation and was always courageous, hardworking and determined. Melissa was a wonderful daughter, a devoted mother, a loving sister and a loyal friend.
A private service was held at St. Anne’s cemetery in Wall, NJ on November 24th. There will be a Celebration of Life event this summer (post COVID) where we can all gather together to honor Sweet Melissa.