Melinda “Mela” Valdez, 67, passed away Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, from injuries sustained in a fall. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Colonial Funeral Home of Irving, 606 W. Airport Freeway, with visitation for family from 4-5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16. Visitation for family and friends continues from 5-8 p.m., with a rosary at 6 p.m.

Funeral services will be held at the Colonial Funeral Home on Saturday, Feb. 17. The service begins at 1 p.m. in the Chapel. The funeral procession leaves Colonial at 2:40 p.m., with burial to follow at Calvary Hills Cemetery, 3235 Lombardy Lane in Dallas.

Mela was born Oct. 30, 1956. She graduated from MacArthur High School in Irving in 1976, then went on to drafting school to become a draftsman. Her last employer was Thomas Reprographics.

She struggled with many health issues through the years, including a leukemia diagnosis in 2011 and treatments at Parkland Memorial Hospital for an autoimmune deficiency. But Mela refused to let those issues slow her down; she always fought back and recovered, even defeating the leukemia.

Mela was a proud member of the LGBTQ community who never changed or compromised her beliefs. She was known as a very friendly and social person who never met a stranger and who made many life-long friends. She was generous, kind, funny, dependable, strong and very organized.

Mela loved having a good time with friends and family. She was a regular at Spirit Grill in Irving and also enjoyed spending time at Strokers, Liquid Zoo and Juggs. She loved watching her favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, and listening to Tejano music and dancing. After discovering that she could, in fact, carry a tune, she loved singing karaoke and would talk to anyone, listening as they told her their concerns, encouraging them to keep going and praising their accomplishments.

Mela was preceded in death by her parents, Natalio Valdez and Inocencia Duarte Mendoza, and by her brother, Joe M. Rodriguez. When her father died in 1966, Mela decided that she would be the person responsible for taking care of her mother, who was, she said, the love of her life. And she continued to look after her mother until her death in 2010, which left Mela heartbroken.

Mela is survived by two sisters and two brothers, Elida “Chevy” Valdez, Juan A. Valdez, Merced “Pete” Rodriguez and Olivia “Lala” Cipriano, and by her constant, Dorothy Gonzalez. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, godchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles and extended family members, and by a host of loving friends.

Mela Valdez was a genuine person, easy to love and with an infectious smile. Even if those who had just met her loved her. She made a tremendous impact on all who knew her, and she will be terribly missed.