Melissa C. (Callaghan) Rice, 42, died on June 13, 2022 following a courageous battle with cancer. Born in Framingham, she was the beloved daughter of David & Dorothy (Galgano) Callaghan, and the devoted wife to Thomas A. Rice.
Melissa was raised and educated in Wayland, and was a 1998 graduate of Wayland High School where she started the Best Buddies Club as part of her Gold Award with the Girl Scouts. Throughout her life Melissa always had a way of filling the needs that she saw in the world around her. As a high school student, Melissa took over as the head coach of the Whalers, the Wayland Town Pool Swim Team, when it looked like they weren’t going to have a head coach. Melissa was passionate about accessibility for the deaf and while working at The Learning Center for the Deaf she became a mentor for one of her students, which continued long after she left.
Melissa always knew that she wanted to work with children, especially those with the highest needs. Melissa was especially proud to attend Russell Sage College, continuing the legacy of two very strong women, her grandmother Mimi and great aunt Ruth, graduating magna cum laude with her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Occupational Therapy in 5 years.
She began her career working in Early Intervention as an occupational therapist. Later, after leaving The Learning Center for the Deaf she worked for the Newton Public Schools, most recently as an Occupational Therapist for the Newton Early Childhood Program.
Melissa was most at home in or near the water, especially near her family’s home on Cape Cod. In fact, when Melissa and Tom were dating, she made it clear that she wouldn’t live west of 495. She was the head coach for the Longfellow Stingrays Swim Team for many years helping countless swimmers develop and grow their own love for the water.
Melissa enjoyed travel and she and Tom had so many happy memories of their trips to Italy and Hawaii.
Her proudest accomplishment in her life was to become a mother to Owen and Abigail. No one could make her smile the way they did. Even in her final days, Melissa’s biggest smiles were reserved for them.
Besides her husband, children, and parents, she leaves behind her brother Shaun and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
The family would especially like to thank Dr. Suzanne George and her team at Dana Farber for the excellent and compassionate care that Melissa received. They would also like to acknowledge Jennifer Wiles and the rest of the team at HEARTplay for their wonderful support of Owen and Abigail through this difficult time.
Family and friends will honor and remember Melissa’s life by gathering for visiting hours in the McCarthy, McKinney & Lawler Funeral Home, 11 Lincoln St. Framingham on Friday, June 17th from 4-7 PM. Her funeral services and interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to HEARTplay, www.heartplayprogram.org/donate. You will be directed to the Beth Israel Lahey Health at Home donation page. Scroll down to "HEARTplay Program" to make your donation.
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