Melinda Tyler 1956 ~ 2024, RIP

 

 

Melinda Tyler, 67, of Milford, MA passed away on January 26.  She is survived by her husband, Leslie (Les) Tyler, and her adopted, extended family of Edward Hemingway, Lori Ayers, Siobhan Lowe, and Karen Howe.

Melinda was born in Alexandria Egypt to an American mother and an Egyptian father, shortly before the 6-days war between Israel and Egypt. Her mother soon managed to leave Egypt with baby Melinda and her older sister, eventually making their way back to the USA. Mixed-race Melinda grew up mostly in Bozeman, Montana, where she endured sexual abuse from her father and general abuse from others in the family and many in the community. Importantly, while that abuse was a terrible early influence on her life’s course, she did not let it define her.

Breaking away from her family, in the early 70s Melinda became an actress, touring the US with San Francisco’s New Shakespeare Company, and appearing in many San Francisco stage productions. In that free and welcoming city, she felt truly accepted and valued, and she made San Francisco her adopted home. In the later 70s and 80s, she was active in San Francisco’s punk scene, forming the all-girl band the “Wild Women of Borneo”, and spending time at the famous Mabuhay Gardens.

In this setting, Melinda discovered sex work, which she found to be fun, and helped pay the bills. While dancing at the infamous Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, she had an idea that grew into the world’s first fantasy phone-call service: Julie’s Hot Line, which she formed and ran. Unfortunately, the money enabled her to turn to drugs to mask the pain from her childhood, and early in 1994, in Cleveland, she hit her “hard bottom”, trying three times to take her own life.

Through the efforts of a kind man named Tim Calahan, she entered Cleveland’s Freedom House treatment program, and set her life on a new, positive course. She received her BA in Psychology and Health and Human Development from Montana State University (Bozeman), graduating summa cum laude. She went on to receive her Masters in Bio-Behavioral Health from Penn State, and was ABD on her PhD when she left Penn State in the early 2000s after being sexu;ally assaulted by her thesis advisor.

Melinda taught psychology online (a new concept in those days) at Berkeley, then Kaplan University, eventually authoring a psychology text used by Kaplan and heading their psychology and social sciences department. Later, she taught at DeVry and American Public University, which latter allowed her to get to know and influence some of the men and women who serve in the US armed forces. She developed a respect and admiration for their capabilities and determination that lasted the rest of her life.

In 2008, Melinda created the “Melindaville” blog. In it, she told many stories of her own past, feeling this would facilitate her being able to help other people. But, she took the site down in 2012.

In 2017, Melinda wrote “The Purified” , a fictional mystery, which Nothing Ventured Press is proud to publish. Partly to promote her book, in 2017 Melinda reconstituted melindaville.com, posting several additional entries over the next two years.

Unfortunately, before she died, she wasn’t able to complete the next book in the Montana Wylde series: “The Deceived”. Her husband (and editor) hopes to complete it for her, possibly extending the series even further if time permits. Melinda had also nearly completed a memoir focusing on her early life in the San Francisco punk rock scene, and with some help from her friends, her husband hopes to complete that book as well.  Nothing Ventured Press, of course, will be proud to publish both books when they are complete.

Her family plans private celebrations of Melinda’s life in the places she loved best: Corea Maine, Bozeman Montana, and San Francisco California.  If you knew Melinda and would like to be included, please go here and and leave a comment with your email address so her husband can contact you.

If you feel inclined to remember her in a tangible way, please consider making a donation in her name to one of the following charities, which are among those which she thought did the best work:

Planned Parenthood
Center for Reproductive Rights
Feeding America
Children’s Defense Fund
Prevent Child Abuse America
Innocence Project
National Alliance to End Homelessness
Fisher House Foundation

If you do make a contribution to one or more of the above, please ask the site to let Melinda’s family know by email to obit@melindaville.com.