Melissa Toddy, 42, died on Saturday, March 2, 2019 after living with glioblastoma for almost three years.
Born in Lake City, PA to the late Carson Toddy and Mary Jane Skelton Toddy, and sister to Arianna Toddy Lydic and her husband, Calvin Lydic and her two nephews, Christopher Lauren Lydic and Jacob Carson Lydic, Melissa graduated from Girard High School in 1994 where she was a musician, playing the quad drums in marching band, sang in choir, and was the drummer for the teen band Overdrive. In college at Case Western Reserve University she continued her interests in the performing arts, appearing in several musicals and theater productions, including Studs Terkel's Working and a production of Once on this Island. She graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where she interned with the Human Rights Campaign in Washington DC and studied Russian law in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Upon graduation she moved to Connecticut where she clerked in the New Haven courthouse and
joined the Office of the Public Defenders' Habeas Corpus Unit where she worked to ensure that the incarcerated were treated fairly and their rights are protected. She later worked in the Hartford court where she earned a reputation among her colleagues and clients for compassion, humor, and her fierce sense of justice.
When she wasn't protecting the rights of Connecticut's citizens she explored the world; spelunking in Belize; hiking the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu; diving on shipwrecks in Barbados; and receiving blessings in the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Our Lady of Lourdes in France. She watched seals play between icebergs at Jokulsarlon in Iceland, and walked among the ancient, mysterious statues of Easter Island. She dined on tapas in Barcelona, wrote her memoir in Great Cumbrae, Scotland, and practiced yoga on the shore of the most beautiful lake in the world, Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala.
Everywhere she went she was most interested in the welfare of animals, volunteering her time fostering, placing, and adopting rescued racing dogs for We Adopt Greyhounds, befriending strays on all of her travels, and feeding the shaggy horses in Iceland.
She is survived by her loving husband Michael Monikowski and devoted greyhound Flying Onion.
The family will greet friends on Saturday, March 9 from 2 to 5 pm at Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home 1084 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, CT and a memorial service will be held at Lake City Presbyterian Church, Lake City, PA on March 16, at 2:00 pm. Online condolences may be made at www.SheehanHilbornBreen.com