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Melissa "Missy" Simonson
June 5, 1973 ~ November 28, 2023 (age 50) 50 Years Old
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Portage- Melissa “Missy” Simonson, age 50 died on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023, after a long and hard-fought battle of respiratory fibrosis. Prayer services will be held at 4 pm on Sunday, December 10th, 2023, at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Portage. Friends may visit on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service at 4 p.m. Melissa was born on June 5th,1973 in Portage, to Paul and Dororthy (Wescott) Hilgendorf, she was their little princess. They made sure she was treated as one as she grew into the woman she became. In High School, she was involved in sports, playing volleyball and basketball. After graduating, her cousin Joan convinced her to try nannying and off to the windy city of Chicago she went. She returned to Portage and attended MATC earning an associate degree in Human Services while working numerous jobs. Anyone who knew her knew her determination to succeed. She then went to work for Lutheran Social Services in Baraboo working with juveniles. In 1996 she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. In 1998 Shania came into her world and sparked a fire in her that was uncontrollable. After a short recovery, the cancer returned. Chemotherapy was the next step to this obstacle in life. On October 16th, 1999, she married Jerred Simonson, her love and soulmate in life with a quick arrangement of the wedding before her treatments would start. Her chemotherapy didn't slow her down, she was determined to be a role model and inspiration for her daughter, family, and friends. Once in recession, the spark came alive again, giving birth to two more daughters Faith in 2004, and Lyla in 2006. These three young ladies are the most caring, loving, intelligent girls anyone could ask for. They were her everything in life. Melissa loved the challenges, which she proved by having a full-time job, raising the kids, and let’s be honest her husband could have classified as one of the kids. She loved traveling to warm climates where she could lay on the beach and enjoy the people in her company. She could always be caught laying around the pool at home when she was a young girl, and later in life. It was one more thing that was the joy in her life. Melissa worked for Columbia County Health and Human Services as a Juvenile Program Coordinator for over 20 years. Outside of work she was involved with many volunteers’ groups including Salvation Army Coat Drive, Relay for Life, Portage Food Pantry, Kindred Kids in Columbus, St. Vincents, Columbia County Nursing Home in Wyocena, Portage Park and Recreation Department, Portage Public Library Board, Poynette Library, Mackenzie Center, and Columbia County CARES committee. She took part in creating and facilitating the Columbia County STARS group for teen girls, which was later followed by the BOYS group. She collaborated with UW Extension to develop and facilitate an employment skills program for youths. She was very involved in WARP (Wisconsin Association of Restitution Program) and was trained in crisis debriefing along with being a strong advocate for implementing trauma-informed care principles. She won Mentor of the year at the Wisconsin Challenge Academy in 2008. Melissa was an angel on earth, always willing to lend a hand to someone in need. She was a loving daughter, wife, mother, and friend. She will be greatly missed by all who were ever able to be in her presence and feel her love and energy for life. She was an inspiration to many. She is survived by her parents, Paul and Dorothy Hilgendorf, Portage, her husband Jerred Simonson Portage, her children Shania, Faith, Lyla Simonson, Portage, and many other dear relatives and friends. Kratz Funeral Home (www.kratzfuneralhome.com) is assisting the family with arrangements.