Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Rest Well Warrior
This is What KXAN said about Mel..
Whether it was a voice calming a frantic 911 caller on the other end of the line, or belting out a powerful song to a crowd, Melanie Wilkinson, 37, touched many lives in Austin.
"She was an earthbound angel that's now heaven bound," said communications supervisor Michelle Frazier.
Wilkinson worked as a 911 dispatcher in Austin since January 2005. Frazier remembered saying goodbye to Wilkinson Monday morning at the end of her overnight shift. Wilkinson attended a Black History Month luncheon, and was killed in a car accident on her way home. Police said the driver of an SUV crossed the center stripe on 5st Street and hit the four-door Toyota Wilkinson was driving.
"I know what people mean when they say it just doesn't seem possible," said close friend and voice coach Dr. Beulah Curry-Jones, sitting on the piano bench in her parlor where the two first met.
Jones can still remember the day Wilkinson's daughter brought her over so she could critique her young daughter's voice when she was in high school.
"When she first sang it was sort of like the feeling, now forgive my grammar, if it ain't broke, don't fix it,” said Jones.
Wilkinson went on to attend Huston-Tillotson University in the 1980s and studied music under Dr. Jones direction. She later received a Master's degree in music from Texas State in San Marcos. She had performed for numerous church congregations and ceremonial events. She became a favorite of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and sang at the city ceremony when Jordan's memorial statue was unveiled at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 2002. Wilkinson has also performed for Lady Bird Johnson and Maya Angelou.
Jones accompanied Wilkinson on the piano for many performances. Jones' last performance with Wilkinson was for a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Jan. 18 at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin. The gospel song 'Lord Don't Move that Mountain' was Wilkinson's favorite song to sing. Jones would play it on her piano in her parlor, while Wilkinson would belt it out next to her.
Last Wednesday, the two close friends spent the morning together. Jones never imagined it would be the last time, but finds comfort knowing Wilkinson was ready to meet the Lord.
"I would say that she was always in a state of readiness," said Jones. Her life may have been taken, but her memory is sure to live on. Jones said, "She was a person I think anyone would want to know and I think they would be glad that their paths had crossed."