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Born: May 12, 1972

Date of Passing: Oct 11, 2023

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Melissa Marie Engbrecht was born in the Memorial Hospital in Boissevain, Manitoba on May 12, 1972, and on October 11, 2023, at the age of 51, while a patient in the Brandon Hospital, she peacefully slipped away to her heavenly home. She was the daughter of George and Rita (Neustaedter) Engbrecht.

Born with Spina Bifida, Melissa was immediately transferred to Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg, where she required surgery to close the opening in her back. The first years of her life were spent in and out of hospital where she endured ten major and a lot of minor surgeries. When she was three years old, she received her first wheelchair, finally allowing her some freedom of movement.

While attending Spina Bifida Clinics in Winnipeg, she met Chris Brandon and Rod McKnight who had similar conditions to her. They attended pre-school together in Brandon and in later years, all lived in the same apartment building in Brandon. They became and remained her dear lifelong friends.

While attending school in Boissevain, Melissa played trumpet in the school band, took piano lessons, learned to type, and received a “most improved” OEC Award. She attended the Wheelchair Sports program where she played basketball, volleyball, swam, and bowled. She also joined the church youth group and was very excited to get to go to church camp.

After finishing school, she started working at the local “Hand Crafter” making lawn chairs and helped raise funds for Wheelchair Sports. She took a term position as cashier at the Boissevain Greenhouse, and then returned to work at the Hand Crafter as a receptionist.

On August 18, 1991, Melissa was baptized upon confession of her faith in Whitewater Mennonite Church. She enjoyed singing in the Community Christmas Choir.

She started sewing buttons onto cards to sell at the Brandon MCC Thrift Store in 1992. It was during these years that she received her first sports wheelchair, which was a big deal to her, making it much easier to get around.

In 1993, she entered an Independent Living program and moved into a house in Boissevain. That fall she became a Teacher’s Assistant for grades one to two in Boissevain school. She also worked as an Activity Aid in Boissevain Westview Lodge and Evergreen Place.

Some of Melissa’s highlights were: visiting her brothers in Calgary and going to Disney Land. In 2000 she got to ride her new scooter in Boissevain Millenium Parade and in the Turtle Derby Parade.

In October 2001, Melissa moved into Kiwanis Apartments in Brandon, got a job as a clerk at a Rodgers Video store, took a typing class, and then in 2002, went to work at the Brandon MCC Thrift Store. She formed many friendships and continued working there two days a week, until being hospitalized this fall. In her free time, from 2006 to 2012, she also enjoyed volunteering at Palliative Care in Brandon Hospital. It was during this time that she got her much loved and liberating power wheelchair.

In 2017, due to declining health, she was moved from her apartment to the hospital in Boissevain and then to the Fairview Nursing Home in Brandon, where she resided until she moved to her new home in heaven. While living in Fairview Home, she delivered the mail and Brandon Sun to the other residents.

Her life was one of many health struggles and trips to the hospital. However, as you can hear from her active life and variety of different jobs, these struggles did not keep her down. Being the people person she was, Melissa always took time and enjoyed visiting with everyone, including the staff at Fairview home. During these years she attended the Richmond Park MB Church in Brandon where she developed another group of friends. She was known to always be ready to go for coffee or out to eat.

When able to go, Melissa enjoyed the yearly family gatherings at Lake William. The last gathering, she attended was her dad’s 80th birthday party in Boissevain.

Besides her parents, Melissa will be greatly missed by her brother Steven (wife Sonja), nephews Ryan, Evan and Dustin, brother Karl (friend Wanda), niece Ashley, nephew Kolton, and as well as many uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends.

The family wishes to thank the Staff at Fairview Nursing Home, Doctor Goossen and the other Doctors, nurses, and staff at Brandon Regional Hospital for the loving care they provided for Melissa as well as the many friends and family who visited her. God Bless You.

Publish Date: Nov 4, 2023


Melissa Marie Engbrecht, age 51 years, passed away on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at the Brandon Regional Health Centre.

The Celebration of Melissa’s Life will take place at Richmond Park Church, 1525 – 26th Street, Brandon on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception. Interment will follow at Boissevain Cemetery.

Donations in memory of Melissa may be made to MCC Manitoba, 100-140 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 3C5.


Publish Date: Oct 14, 2023

As published in Brandon Sun on Oct 14, 2023, Nov 04, 2023

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • We were so blessed to meet Melissa on the 2nd floor of Fairview Nursing Home. Both our mom and dad were on that floor and Melissa was so kind to our parents. We will always remember her beautiful smile and kind heart when they both passed away. Our Deepest Sympathies on your loss of such a beautiful soul Melissa was. - Posted by: Deb Stevens and Kim Boulton (our mom and dad were on same floor at Fairview as Melissa) on: Oct 19, 2023

  • Thinking of you as you grieve and process the loss of Melissa's physical presence in your lives. I can easily recall her friendly smile. May your memories of her warm your hearts in the weeks/months and years ahead. - Posted by: Kathy Fast (Friend of family) on: Oct 17, 2023

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