In Memoriam

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Melissa Barrett Dobbs ’91

A picture of Melissa Dobbs

Melissa Barrett Dobbs ’91, June 30, 2010, in hospice in Washington, D.C., from cancer. Melissa earned a BA in English at Reed and went on to earn a master's in public administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, with an emphasis in Arabic. She spent two years in Cairo after graduate studies and was a Fulbright scholar in Damascus, Syria, in 1996. She remained professionally engaged with the region, working most recently at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a media analyst. After settling in Washington, Melissa renewed an early interest in horseback riding and became an avid competitor in regional dressage and jumping events, with her beloved horses Izzie and Athena. She was committed to animal rights and environmental issues. After her initial diagnosis of breast cancer in 2005, she traveled widely, despite sometimes draining medical treatment. She treated friends and family to a running travelogue, penning vivid dispatches from many of her trips, often with a wry eye to humanity's relationship to the natural world. She returned to the Middle East and traveled to France and Portugal earlier this year. She remained an active equestrian competitor before her illness became more severe. She is survived by her mother, sister, stepfather, stepsister, and stepbrother. Reed friends at her memorial service included Neilson Abeel ’91, Susan Abramson ’91, Burton Callicott ’91, Matthew Robb ’91, and Will Swarts ’92.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2011

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