BY JANA NIEMI-LAHNALAMPI
You may have bought a turkey supper ticket from her, or maybe she was your “Brown Owl.” Perhaps you worked with her on a church committee or board, or she taught you gymnastics. Myself, I have known this woman my whole life. She is probably the first person I ever met. Some people call her Mel, some call ger Mrs. Mott, others call her Mrs. N. I call her mom!
Melinda Mott grew up in Falconbridge. She enjoyed a childhood enriched with many recreational activities provided by the mining company. Softball in the summer, hockey in winter, acrobatic dancing, Brownies, and Girl Guides. As a youngster, she was involved with the church, attending Sunday school and youth group. Falcona Camp was a summer staple, first attending as a camper and later as a counsellor.
Melinda started her education as SS#2 in Falconbridge attending it up to grade 10 and then transitioning to secondary school at Nickel District in Sudbury. At 18, Melinda left the North for greener pastures, first in Toronto and then later Edmonton.
Here, she worked many jobs to save up for n extended trip backpacking through Europe. Melinda returned home to Canada where she met and fell in love with a feller northerner, who persuaded her to return. Sulo and Melinda soon moved to the new community of Onarping.
While raising their three girls, Melinda dedicated herself to many community endeavours. She started the Onaping Falls GymnasticsClub, initially helped Annette Mikkila and later Jack Miller. The club continues to this day in Dowling.
She led various Guide and Brownie packs and looks back fondly on her years working with the kids.
“In gymnastics club, the kids were always happy. They loved heir handstands and somersaults and in Bronies the kids were cute.”
Melinda served on various committees and boards throughout the year at St. John’s United Church. She was a member of the United Church Women for over 40 years. She is a master ticket seller, few events have gone on at the church in recent years that has not involved her selling record numbers of tickets.
She drove for the Children’s Aid Society, volunteered with palliative care and helped with food prep at a soup kitchen in Sudbury. Years ago she brought a very important training course to Levack District High School — self-defence.
Melinda always looks for ways to help people. While I may be a little biased, I think it is inarguable. We are lucky to have her in our community and lives. She has brought many opportunities to the people in our community that may otherwise not have happened.
Today, Melinda lives in Levack where she enjoys socializing with the ladies at the Blue Bird and Quick Way. She continues to be active with the church, assisting with pie-making.
Her favourite times are spent with any her nine grandchildren, and if they aren’t available, she would love to spend time with a pet. If neither grandchildren or pets are available, one of her three daughters will do!
As a side note, when I sat down to interview her for this piece, she thought it was dor her obituary!