Melissa Jan Blake (Jan. 3, 1943 – May 5, 2022)
Melissa Jan Blake passed away peacefully on May 5, 2022 in Mission Viejo. She was 79.
Melissa’s earliest memories were living with her mother in Laguna Beach while her father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, her family lived in Columbus, Ohio, and Butte and Billings, Montana. In 1961, the Blake family of seven permanently moved to Laguna Beach.
Melissa spent much of the next three decades in Laguna Beach, briefly attending Laguna Beach High School, living in Canyon Acres as a young bride, on Woodland Drive as a single mother, and later in a mid-century modern house in Bluebird Canyon. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at UC Riverside and a Master of Fine Arts at Claremont College. She subsequently left Laguna, making her home in Santa Monica for 25 years. She returned to live in Dana Point during the last 10 years of her life, where she could be found walking in the harbor every day with her companion Jamie Hunter, keeping fit, and enjoying the ever-changing scene there.
Melissa was a fearless and enthusiastic traveler. She made two journeys to Australia to visit Yuendumu in the Northern Territory, where she worked with the aboriginal painters of the Warlukurlangu Art Collective.
Ms. Blake was a conscientious mother and a loyal sister and friend, with a deep appreciation for life, a great sense of humor, a can-do attitude, an innate sense of style, and a natural inner calm. She was a real beauty, inside and out.
She is survived by her two sons, Bartholomew Hanson and Morgan Ruhnau, her grandson Ford Ruhnau, and her siblings: Marc Blake, Nicholas Blake, Jennifer Blake, and Eleanor Blake, all of whom live in California. Memorial event to be arranged.