Melisa Mapa died while driving home from work in Euless, Fort Worth, Texas on Wednesday, May 11 just after midnight when her car was hit by another driver who was fleeing police.
The 27-year-old was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and moved to Dublin as a child, where she attended primary and secondary school.
She moved to Dallas, Texas in 2014 where she received an associate degree from Tarrant County College before studying Exercise Science at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Melisa had been working on her doctorate in Occupational Therapy at Texas Women’s University.
She leaves behind several “devastated” family members: her grandmother Mabel Pondayi; her parents Martin and Jennet; sisters Angela, Orlinda, Berlinda, and Martina; brother Martin; brothers-in-law Vez, Wilton, and Chamu; and her boyfriend of 7 years Candon Myles.
Paying tribute to her online, Melisa’s family remembered her as a “beautiful soul” who was “always the life of the party.”
“Melisa was a beam of light that touched the lives of everyone she came across,” the obituary began.
“Melisa loved to travel, spend time with friends and family and would move the world for her nephews (Celani, Sile Sani, Ezra, Eli and Nathaniel) and niece (Hannah).
“Even though she was not a fan of doing the dishes Melisa was always the life of the party, loved wine and loved to eat especially food made by Candon.
“Melisa has left us devastated and she has left a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. Melisa will be deeply missed by her family, boyfriend, friends and all who knew her.
“This is not a goodbye but a see you later. We love you and we miss you dearly, may your beautiful soul rest in perfect peace.”
And a friend who knew Melisa at school in Dublin also paid tribute to her, writing: “I knew Melisa briefly as a teenager in Dublin through mutual friends. I remember her as such a lovely girl who was always so friendly the few times I met her. She really had a warm personality. My thoughts are with her family.”
And another wrote of happy memories she shared with Melisa recently: “Sending my condolences to Melisa´s family and friends. Such a beautiful, kind, young lady. I will cherish the special memories we had at a recent wedding. It was great to be part of the bridal party with you. Such precious memories. RIP beautiful”
A Celebration of Life will take place tomorrow morning, May 20, at Alpha International Seventh Day Adventist Church in Arlington, Texas beginning at 11am local time in Texas (5pm in Ireland).