In Memory

Melanie Higgins

Dr. Melanie Ann Higgins (nee McKernan), age 74, of Rocky River, Ohio, passed away with her family by her side, on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at Southwest Hospice in Strongsville after a lengthy illness. 

She was born on March 4, 1949 in Lakewood, Ohio and has been a resident of Rocky River for the past 7 years, moving from Heidelberg, Germany, where she had resided for nearly 30 years. Melanie completed her undergraduate studies at Cleveland State University before earning her Doctorate in Psychology at Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany. She went on to become certified Jungian Analyst and operated her own psychology practice both here in the United States and Germany. 

Perhaps it was her job, or just in her nature, but Melanie was very inquisitive. She possessed a genuine love for people, and a special relationship with her beloved cat Sophia. She enjoyed music and singing, was fluent in German and had a passion for traveling. Her free time would find her taking long walks or tending to her flowers. 

She is survived by her son Chris (Betty) Higgins of Grafton, grandchildren Jake, Samantha and Emily Higgins and Zack, Nicholas and Britney Antoniewicz; siblings David (Nancy) McKernan, Scott (Jan) McKernan, Gerianne Kody, Veronica (Mark) Brooke, Julie (Mike) Katona and Lucy (Charles) McKernan; many nieces and nephews; her beloved cat Sophia. 

She was preceded in death by her parents Thomas and Doris (nee Crooks) McKernan; sister Donna Clendenan. 

Family will receive friends in the Bogner Family Funeral Home, 36625 Center Ridge Road, North Ridgeville, on Thursday, July 6, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Interment will be private.!/Obituary

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

06/30/23 06:24 PM #1    

Penelope Roberts

In the 1980s, somebody asked me if I wanted to type a dissertation for an American woman who was living in Heidelberg.  I agreed, and I met Melanie.  After months of work, typing and retyping, the document was finished but the bond between us was strong and clear.

I was raising a critically ill child (he was 2 or 3 when he met Mel, or Dr. Mel as he has always called her), and she lived at the foot of the mountain in Ziegelhausen where we had a flat.  She began teaching at the University of Maryland, where I worked from 1980 to 1999, and we started hanging out.

When I say hanging out, we were running partners, dinner party buddies, movie actors, travel pals, and we rented hundreds of movies to watch at each other’s houses.  We had some arguments, we even broke up for a couple of years, but we were magnets for each other.  At one point, Melanie gave me the name of her therapist and told me to go see him, even though she had a rule not to share her work therapist with anyone…that’s how close we were.  She saved my life with that and gave Adriano a better mother.

Melanisia (my pet name for her), first and foremost, was just plain interesting.  She was funny, smart, and insightful.  And she was a 1000% caretaker.  Her relationship with my son, Adriano, was one of respect and care.  I have photos of Mel and Adriano taken all over Europe: my favorite being of the two of them at the turn out before the San Gottardo Tunnel in Switzerland around 1988.  She is hugging him from behind and they are beaming as if they just discovered gold in them thar hills!  But I actually have photos of her and various friends and family at border crossings, ferry docks, and even airport terminals.  Better than photographs was driving somewhere with her.  On our first visit to Adriano’s granny in Italy she taught us to play a travel game she called Stink Pink, or Stinky Pinky.  I can’t remember anything about the game but we laughed hysterically for miles and miles trying to figure out how to play it.

Once, when we had gone to Taormina she found a giant flower pot that looked exactly like my boyfriend of the time.  We didn’t have a way to purchase and get it back to Heidelberg so she took a photo of it and I still have that photo to laugh about.  She sketched a lot of the places we visited and I have those sketches too.  We laughed our butts off at the chaos at Al Italia Airlines and it took us months to get rid of the $3000 Hertz Italy charges for a 5 day car rental!  She was the absolute best companion one could ask for.

Melanie loved to sing.  We went to churches to hear choirs practice, and she tried to get me to join the choir in the church at the end of her street.  But I wasn’t as good as she was and I was still trying to finish my degree, so I settled for listening to her.  One time we got in a cab to go to dinner before a concert and she knew the driver because she knew his dog!  Dinner was with a bunch of art dealers and university professors, but she knew the cab driver’s dog.  That is eternally Melanie!

Mel was an artist practicing the art of loving people and trying to lift them up.  She loved life and her family and she refused to let the slings and arrows change her except for the better.  Like all of us, she made mistakes.  She tried to fix the hurts and make her mistakes count as opportunities rather than as sins.  She wasn’t capable of behaving badly or hurting even strangers.  At the end of her father’s life, every week she watched the Lawrence Welk show with him over Zoom!  That’s love on a massive scale!

It is so hard to try to sum up a long and beautiful friendship when you are grieving the loss of that person.  But I know that Melanie is always with me and with Adriano and I refuse to see her passing as a loss but as a transition to the future.  I could carry on for another 100 pages and not capture her essence, her intelligence, her heart.  But I know, when I think of her, all of that floods back to me on a wave of memories and mementos.  These are the things that will be in my future and in Adriano’s future as we travel our lives the rest of the way without her.  She can still make me laugh.  She can now make me cry.  Love and friendship endure, as  Melanisia will.


07/03/23 01:38 AM #2    

Charles Brumfield

DIdn't know Melanie.  Never met her.  But now I feel like I know her at least a bit, and I like what I learned.  Very sorry for your loss.  Humanity feels it.



go to top 
  Post Comment