Melinda Sarah Alves Brubaker, 62, of Farmington, Maine, passed away April 21, 2012, at Maine General Medical Center. Her husband Gerald “Bru” Brubaker was at her side.
She was born at Mills Memorial Hospital in San Mateo, Calif., to Clara K. and the late Ernest Alves. Melinda grew up the eldest of three siblings on a dairy farm in Half Moon Bay on the San Mateo County coast of California. At that time, it was mostly a small rural farming community with acres of open space for Brussels sprouts, artichokes, peas, flowers and oat hay. Everyone in town knew each other, their families, and what was happening in the community.
She attended the local elementary, intermediate and high schools — a gifted learner with a photographic memory who excelled in every educational endeavor. School lessons were important to her, but it was her school chums and the classroom and school bus adventures she remembered most with fondness and humor.
Melinda was a faithful friend who maintained close ties with a core group of friends throughout her life. Despite different directions — college, work and other pursuits — they kept in contact and would often get together to catch up.
After attending College of San Mateo and San Jose State University, Melinda earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1972. While at San Jose State, she was named one of 29 students included in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.” She was active in Black Masque, a women’s honorary society; Sigma Theta Tau, a national nursing honorary group; and was an active member of Chi Omega Fraternity, serving as chapter president. After her graduation from San Jose State, she worked as a Chi Omega national representative for the Western region of the United States.
Her nursing career began at Stanford University Hospital where she worked in the intermediate intensive care unit as a new graduate. From there, she transitioned into emergency nursing and became the nurse manager of the Emergency Department. She was involved in many special projects including the establishment of the air medical transport program, Stanford Life Flight, in 1984. Her next challenge was as a paramedic instructor for the Stanford-Foothill Prehospital Care Program where she taught hundreds of medics the art and science of field emergency medicine.
In 1986, she married Gerald L. Brubaker. They moved to Farmington, Maine, with their family of cats and enjoyed the Maine life for over 20 years. Melinda quickly established herself as a health care consultant for the state of Maine. With her extensive medical/nursing expertise, she wrote many grants for the health care needs of diverse group of Mainers and co-authored a book, “Surgery: A Patient’s Guide from Diagnosis to Recovery.” Since 2004, she served on the Board of Trustees and the Admissions, Personnel and Policy Committee of the Farmington senior residential care facility, the Pierce House, where her extensive background in academic medical center administration, quality improvement, and program design, development and implementation was well utilized.
Melinda will be remembered as a multifaceted woman who was an accomplished humanitarian and animal lover, cat woman, writer, baseball maven, gourmet chef, royalist and traveler. She was equally at home in a duck blind or on a cruise ship. Her greatest loves were her cats, family and close friends. Her legacy will be the many people she touched, her great concern for others, her sense of humor, adventure and fun, and ability to overcome obstacles both personal and professional. Those of us who loved her will miss her every day but will carry her within our hearts always.
Melinda is survived by her husband, Gerald L. Brubaker; three cats, Duke, Albert and Nigella; her mother, Clara K. Alves, of Half Moon Bay; her sister Susan, of Redwood City; and her brother Jay (Doreen) and three nephews, Andrew, Scott and Jake, of Littleton, Colo; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Melinda was preceded in death by her father, Ernest Alves.
Donations may be made to Franklin County Animal Shelter, 550 Industry Road, Farmington, Maine, 04938; to Pets in Need, 871 Fifth Ave., Redwood City, CA 94063; or the charity of your choice.
She loved cats.