Student remembered as kind, compassionate, devoted

Jenice Tupolo

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Chico State student Melinda Driggers died on Jan. 22. She is remembered by friends and family as a compassionate woman devoted to rebuilding her life while working toward a degree in social work. Photo courtesy of Chico State.

Friends and family are remembering Melinda Driggers as a compassionate woman who was driven to devote her life to social work as a returning student at Chico State.

Driggers, 49, was found unconscious by university staff in the Student Services Center on Jan. 20. Emergency personnel attempted to revive her before she was transported to Enloe Medical Center, where she died on Jan. 22, said Joe Wills, Chico State’s director of public affairs.

Driggers was born on Oct. 27, 1965, and transferred to Chico State as a social work major from Red Bluff.

Driggers dealt with many obstacles in her life, including the death of her husband and the process of rebuilding her life and returning to school in her 40s, wrote Chico State sociology professor Marianna Paiva in a post on the website ethnography.com on Jan. 28.

“Melinda never complained about anything though.” Paiva wrote. “When I mentioned the expense of college, time management issues, difficulty with school schedules, she would watch me intently, smile in a knowing way, then would shake her head slightly, nod in agreement, and go back to writing her class notes. She had been there, done that before.”

Memorial services were held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Red Bluff on Jan. 30. Half a dozen students and other attendees overflowed the church, using all available standing space, said Vincent Ornelas, director of the School of Social Work.

“When I think of Melinda I think of somebody who was very balanced, somebody who was very kind,” Ornelas said. “Somebody who had compassion and was here to make a difference.”

Driggers is survived by her son Christopher, daughters Isabel and Holly, fiancé Jim Nicholas, and his two children, Jimmy and Jenna. She also leaves behind her parents, June and Ray Mott.

Jenice Tupolo can be reached at [email protected] or @JayTupolo on Twitter.

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