Melissa was born March 11, 1984, in Anchorage and raised in Homer. She graduated in 2002 from Homer High School. Melissa had a true love of sports and the outdoors. She was involved in Little League baseball and loved snowmachining and four-wheeling. Melissa also had a love for the theatre, working for Pier One Theatre running the lights. Her family said, "Melissa had a beautiful spirit and she will be truly missed by those whose lives were so blessed to be touched by her."
Melissa is survived by her parents, Val and Jeanette McLay; grandparents, Jake and Mid McLay and Priscilla Wolford; her brothers, sister and nieces, Rodney and Jennifer McLay, John and Heidi, Taylor, Devyn and Kymber McLay; Damon and Dana McLay, Marty and Kiana McLay and Valette and Bridger Ragland, as well as many uncles, aunts and cousins.