Melissa Michelle (Rogers) Paton, 40, of Arkansas City, passed away Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, at her parents’ home following a valiant fight with pancreatic cancer.
Cremation has been effected. A celebration of life will be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in the Cowley College Brown Center with Rev. Stephanie Wall Brown and Father Sam Brand officiating. The family will also greet friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home and Crematory.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Melissa Rogers Paton Warm Heart Fund for Kids or Sacred Heart Catholic School. The Warm Heart Fund will be administered through the public schools to continue Melissa’s passion that all children be able to come to school warmly dressed. Her Warm Heart Fund will allow all schools to help students primarily needing coats, socks, gloves or whatever they need to be properly clothed so they can learn and be comfortable.
Donations can be made through the funeral home or to USD 470, 2545 Greenway Road, Arkansas City, KS 67005. Arrangements are under the direction of Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home and Crematory. Online condolences can be made at www.rindt-erdman.com.com.
Melissa was born July 10, 1979, in Arkansas City, to Dr. Nick (Paul Nicholas) and Christie Sue (Lisk) Rogers. She grew up attending schools in Arkansas City, graduating in 1997. Following high school she attended Kansas State University, graduating in 2002 with degrees in early childhood and elementary education.
While in college she was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and an avid supporter of K-State athletics. She also spent hours at Hoeflin Stone House Early Childhood Education Center at K-State. While she was taking classes at Stone House, she also became a full-time volunteer and knew she had found her passion for life.
Following college, Melissa taught in the Hurst, Euless, Bedford and Grapevine school districts outside of Dallas, Texas. She returned to Arkansas City in 2007, teaching preschool at Roosevelt Elementary, the same school she attended as a child. She transferred to Sacred Heart School in 2016, where she taught as preschool, first grade and P.E. teacher and served as lead school teacher.
On July 5, 2008, Melissa married her high school sweetheart Andy Paton in Arkansas City, where the couple made their home.
She was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church. She helped with Vacation Bible School and served briefly on the education committee. She also served on the Arkansas City Public Library Board as secretary. For several years, she helped with the KinderArt program through the Denton Art Center and received the Denton Art Center Volunteer of the Year award.
She was an active member of PEO Chapter ER, serving in multiple officer positions, including as president for two years and as a delegate to both state and international conventions, believing in their cause to afford women educational opportunities.
Melissa was devoted to her students, her “littles,” but her unending loves were her children Wyatt and Alice. She always dreamed of being a mommy, and when she became one everything else in her life paled. She was their biggest cheerleader, the number one chauffeur, tutor and champion of all their efforts.
Melissa was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Rita and Lloyd Lisk; paternal grandparents, Arlene and Dr. Paul Rogers; and an aunt, Pam Gage.
Survivors include her husband, Andy Paton, and children Alice and Wyatt Paton, all of the home; parents Nick and Christie Rogers, brother Scott Rogers and wife Nicole, all of Arkansas City; sister Becci Meissner and husband, John of Prairie Village; and nieces and nephews Addi and Grant Rogers and Jack Paton, mother and father-in-law Mark and Deb Paton, and brother-in-law Russell Paton and fiancé Chandi Nickle, all of Arkansas City.