Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Melanie Ovaska Janakas

GUNNISON, Colo. - Melanie Ovaska Janakas passed away suddenly Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, of a heart attack, knowing her family loved her dearly.

Melanie was born Feb. 12, 1973, in Ironwood, Michigan, daughter of Gary Brian and Karen Ann (Lombardo) Ovaska. She attended Roosevelt and Norrie elementary schools, and Luther L. Wright High School, where she graduated in 1991. In school, Melanie played on the junior high girls basketball team, while wearing a full back brace due to scoliosis, no easy task! She also won the Ironwood Elks Club "Hoop Shoot" Challenges and excelled with honors in her business courses, winning top ratings in Minneapolis competitions.

Melanie loved growing up in Ironwood, especially fall and winter, waiting for that first snowflake! She was a member of the Wesley United Methodist Church, where she was baptized and confirmed.

After graduation, Melanie joined the work force by working for Dr. Robert Aukee Dentistry, Wells Fargo Bank, and Gogebic Range Bank where she was a "favorite teller."

On Aug. 15, 1993, Melanie married John J. Janakas at the "Chapel of the Bells" in Las Vegas. Together they raised the "pride of their lives," daughter Paige Caitlyn.

In 2009, they relocated to Colorado, where Melanie enjoyed the hills, mountains and rivers. Mel and John followed the Cincinnati Reds baseball and Cincinnati Bengals football games. Melanie and her Dad enjoyed discussing the latest NASCAR race. When asked who was her favorite driver, she kiddingly said "No. 19 'cause he's the cutest!" Another favorite event was going to concerts, mainly "Otherwise" with Adrian Patrick and his band.

Melanie is survived by her husband, John; her daughter, Paige; her father, Gary B. (Gloria) Ovaska; brothers, Gary J. (Jerri Anne) Ovaska and Shannon M. Ovaska; aunt, Diana (Pat) Dalberg; cousins, Jessica and Christian; nieces, Mikayla and Cassidy; and nephew, Gunnar.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Karen (Lombardo) Ovaska; and her maternal grandparents, John and Kay Lombardo, and her paternal grandparents, Matthew Ovaska and Lorraine (Mollard/Ovaska) Johnson; and also by her beloved Alaskan husky "Nikki."

Melanie had a great network of family and friends who are devastated by this news and will deeply miss her and will trust her light shines on.

Melanie posted this last wish of hope and inspiration on the evening before she passed: "To whoever is reading this, I sincerely hope you fall asleep knowing you are loved. ..." - Aug. 23 @ 8:45 p.m.

In accordance with her wishes, cremation has taken place. A private family memorial service will be held at a later date.