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Calvin Mourns the Loss of Decator
updated January 23, 2007

A precious member of the Calvin College community has passed away at the tender age of 18.

Funeral Info
Jan. 23 - 5 to 9 pm
Jan. 24 - 5 to 9 pm
-at the Matthysse Funeral Home (4145 Chicago Drive in Grandville)

Funeral Service
Jan. 25 - 1 pm
-at Ivanrest CRC (3777 Ivanrest in Grandville)

If anyone needs a ride, please contact Robin Zylstra in the Student Life office at 526-6948.

Melissa Decator, a Calvin freshman from Byron Center, was involved in a car accident on 28th Street in Grand Rapids on Sunday, January 21 and died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash which police are still investigating (but alcohol was not a factor).

The daughter of Lori Decator of Byron Center and Michael Decator of Little Rock, Arkansas, Melissa Decator was a 2006 graduate of Calvin Christian High School in Grandville, Decator also was an aspiring social worker, who had been stirred to help others after summer missions trips to Guatemala in 2005 and 2006 with Ivanrest Christian Reformed Church.

At Calvin, Decator lived in Rooks Hall where her friends describe her as bubbly, energetic and a faithful daughter of Jesus Christ.

In fact, on Facebook, the social networking website used by a majority of Calvin students, Decator belonged to several groups, including one called "Jesus Is My Savior and I Am Not Ashamed!!!" and another called "The Great Biblical Marathon" (a group of 34 students from around the country dedicated to reading through the Bible in one year).

The passage for that Great Biblical Marathon group yesterday was Exodus 19-21 which is set in a time three months after the Israelites left Egypt. Chapter 20 includes the giving by God of the 10 commandments to the Israelites, while chapter 19 includes God's promise to his children. Indeed in the fourth and fifth verse of that chapter God says: "... I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession."

Melissa DecatorDecator, say her friends, was one of God's treasured possessions. And today on her Facebook website friends and family are testifying to the vivid witness a girl they called "Mel Head" left in her too-short time on this earth.

"You should have seen how full the waiting room was with people who love you," wrote one friend. Another added: "You had such a strong faith that everyone could see!! Hope you liked Revelation 19 tonight; we sang it for you!!"

Still another friend said: "I got the joy of living with this girl two rooms down in the same hall! She was an absolute joy to have around. I will never forget her beautiful smiling face, and most of all her passionate love for Jesus Christ." And yet another friend said simply: "You taught me what it really means to love Jesus as my personal Savior. Do you fully understand the impact you had on my life? I hope you do Mel Head."

Decator was nearing the end of her first Interim at Calvin (the three-week term in January during which students take just one class). She was taking a course called A Christian Response to Racism.

Her instructor, Calvin's Jacque Rhodes, says Decator was very engaged with the subject matter and believes her student's experience last summer in Guatemala had opened her eyes to a bigger world around her.

"She will be missed," says Rhodes.