Melissa A. Szydlo, beloved daughter of Greg and Perri Szydlo, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. She was born on December 2, 1974 and was a graduate of Lewis S. Mills high school. She earned her Bachelors Degree from Assumption College graduating Magna Cum Laude. She went on to earn a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford.
She had a keen interest in travel and adventure. She was an exchange student in both Argentina and Venezuela and lived with wildlife and the Masai in Kenya practicing and teaching sustainable development. Melissa loved interacting with the local people of these countries and learning about their cultures and practices.
Melissa’s passion was to help people and she became a volunteer with the Red Cross, assisting in disaster relief. Early in her career at the Women’s Health Center, she helped create Hartford Hospital's Sexual Crisis Resource Center. She subsequently moved on to private practice specializing in trauma recovery, anxiety and depression disorders.
Melissa held her family in the highest regard and was a fierce and loyal defender of the ones she loved, especially her brothers. She was also a very independent and strong individual who was instrumental in challenging perspectives and growing the family.
She will be remembered for her sense of humor, love of nature and wildlife, and her joy in giving thoughtful gifts to those she loved. She engaged with people she met in ordinary places and was appreciated, especially by her clients, for her openness, non-judgmental attitude and compassion. She will be missed by friends and family, alike.
In addition to her parents, Melissa leaves behind her brother Michael and his wife Kelly, along with nieces, Maya and Anjuli; Matthew and his wife Lola, their 3-year-old son Oliver and stepdaughter Sadie. She also leaves long-time boyfriend Ken, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Calling hours will be at the Vincent Funeral Home, 120 Albany Turnpike in Canton on Sunday, May 23rd from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, closing with Words of Remembrance at 6:45 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am Monday, May 24th at St. Patrick’s Church in Collinsville, CT. Burial will be in the St. Patrick's section of Burlington Center Cemetery, 252 Spielman Hwy, Burlington at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, May 25th. Contributions may be made in her name to instituteofliving.org; endsexualviolencect.org; or to cthumane.org (the CT Humane Society). Please visit Melissa’s “Book of Memories’ at www.vinentfuneralhome.com for online tributes.