In memory of
June Melodia, 86, of Sewickley, passed peacefully in her sleep Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. She had enjoyed having her hair done and greeting friends in the Village earlier that day before walking back at her usual brisk clip to the apartment that she shared with her granddaughter, Kate. Her recent inability to remember names or sometimes nouns more generally did not inhibit her sociability. The prior two weeks had been filled with family and friends, including a gathering of nearly 40 nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren. She had, in short, just entered her tenth decade of life with her optimism and serenity intact. Until she woke no more, she quite literally started each day laughing. June was born Dec. 3, 1933, to George and Sabina Spurrier, of Pittsburgh's North Side. She was an identical twin with her sister, Jean (Dudra of Ben Avon), who survives her. Their father drove trucks for a living, loved baseball and "the twins", and their mother was the head dietician for Presbyterian Hospital in Oakland. June was a straight "A" student at Annunciation High School, but her real passion was attending "the dances", the nearly nightly live music jitterbug raves that dominated the social lives of Catholic city kids throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. It was in those dance halls that she met the love of her life, Mario Melodia, a.k.a., "Smooth" or "Sonny", although family lore has it that they met at Isaly's with Mario behind the counter and the twins stealing pickles out of the barrel. They married May 3, 1952, and were rarely apart for the next 55 years until Mario's death in 2008. June supported and made possible the national performing and teaching career of Mario. They moved from New York to Colorado and back to Pittsburgh as he established himself as a sought-after choreographer and dance teacher, through various iterations of his studios in East Liberty, Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Downtown, and through his long associations with Kenley Players in Ohio and Sewickley Academy. At each stop, June was a quiet but much beloved presence, a stable hub around which the crazy artistic spokes turned. June and Mario settled in Pittsburgh to start and raise a family, first on Marshall Avenue on the North Side and then in the North Hills and for precisely half a century in Sewickley. June lost a daughter, Christine, but had three children who survive her, Mark (married to Dianne, now of New York City), Stacey (now Anastasia, of Newport, R.I., married to Wes Reilly) and Craig (married to Kendra Carter, now of Chicago). June loved dearly her six grandchildren, Kate, Olivia, Parker, Charles, Van and Chelsea. She was devoted to her nuclear family and always elevated its protection above all else. While she had occasion to travel, experience hit shows and meet an endless parade of celebrities, she was always happiest in and most impressed by ordinary day-to-day life with her children, grandchildren, co-workers and friends. June was a member of the Edgeworth Club for 50 years. Once her children had grown, June worked as the receptionist, office manager and all-around mother at the Verland Foundation in Ohio Township for three decades, creating a new family of co-workers and residents. Contributions in June's honor can be made to the Verland Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, at www.verland.org . We will gather for a memorial service and luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Edgeworth Club. All family and friends are welcome at this celebration of her life, a party that June would have loved. Arrangements are by the COLE FUNERAL HOME, Sewickley.
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