Melanie Renee Hirt

Melanie Renee Hirt was born on October 17th, 1981, in Emporia, Ks and after bravely living with ALS, passed away on September 9th, 2023, in Lawrence, Ks.

The family will greet friends from 6:00 ~ 8:00 p.m., Thursday, September 14, 2023, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence, Ks. A funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m., Friday, September 15, 2023, also at the funeral home. The burial will take place at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, Ks.

She is survived by her husband, Eric Hirt, sons Carter and Cade Privat, step – son Jackson Hirt, parents Sid and Katrina Morgan, brothers Brian (Stephanie) Morgan and Mark (Katherine) Morgan and numerous nieces and nephews.

Melanie graduated from Northern Heights High School in 2000 and moved to Lawrence in May 2002. She wed her high school boyfriend, Travis Privat, in May 2003. They had two sons together before deciding to separate and ultimately divorce in 2011. Although the marriage did not work out, they remain friendly and supportive and always coparented in a way to put the boys first.

After many years of never thinking she would find a life partner, she met and then married Eric Hirt on May 17th, 2018.

While attending KU, she earned her Bachelor and Master degrees, which led to her career as a drug and alcohol counselor. She primarily worked in private practice, although she also worked in residential treatment. Melanie had a passion and skill in her career, earning her 2nd place in Best of Lawrence in 2018. Unfortunately, she stopped working in December 2019 due to the progression of ALS.

Although the diagnosis was terminal, she continued to live life to the best of her physical ability. Melanie absolutely loved doing anything physical including sky diving, water rafting, four wheeling up a mountain, paragliding and dancing at live music concerts. It wasn’t until her disease took away the ability to walk did she give up exercise.

She had a warm and friendly presence, easily making friends and helping others to feel comfortable. It was not unusual for strangers to approach her just to talk about whatever was on their mind. Melanie often was complimented on her bright smile and infectious laugh.

Her relationship with God was very important and fueled her heart of gratitude. It provided her a sense of peace when it just didn’t make sense to have peace. She was hungry to learn more about the Bible and for years, she attended a weekly Bible study with a small group of women, leading the group for a couple of years.

Melanie cherished the small things such as sharing a laugh, having a wonderful tea with a pastry, seeing her husband and sons having fun with each other, helping someone else with a problem, getting pedicures with her best friend. One of her favorite things was when she would drive her power chair with her boys to Starbucks to play a game while drinking their “fancy drinks”. When she lost the ability to hug her husband and boys, she described the loss as a very painful ache. She was grateful for each of her relationships.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Melanie’s 2 favorite groups: Walk to Defeat ALS and her church Greenhouse Church – Lawrence, KS Money raised on Melanie’s team will go to the ALS Association- Mid America Chapter. Their mission is to discover treatment and a cure, while serving and advocating for those affected by ALS here in the region. Melanie’s last wish was for ALS to end with her generation. The Greenhouse Church’s mission is to grow disciples who come together often and dig deep, in order to plant a culture that serves the city and reproduces disciples. The emotional, physical, and spiritual support shown to Melanie and to her family by so many in the church felt like God’s intervention.

5 Condolences

  1. Kelly Barikmo on September 12, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    Melanie has forever changed my life because she married my brother. I wish we had more time with her before her illness…more time to know her in a more physical place and seeing her sky dive among other all the other things… Thank you for coming into my life! I will miss this positive light filled with warmth and love for all.

  2. Joyce Hammond on September 13, 2023 at 8:46 am

    I am sorry for for loss. She sounds like she was an incredible lady.

  3. Shirley Vincent on September 13, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I remember Melanie as a very young quiet girl who smiled a lot. She sounds like she grew into a awesome young lady who will be missed by many.

  4. Patti Roseberry on September 14, 2023 at 10:25 am

    Very sorry for your loss. As an acquaintance, I always enjoyed seeing Melanie. Always ready to offer a smile, kind word, and upbeat attitude. Even when her struggles with ALS started to become apparent, her inner strength and grace shone through. Sleep well, Melanie.

  5. Paul Ladipo on September 21, 2023 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you, Melanie, for your friendship. You were a true friend that was there for me during some really dark times. True friends really are hard to come by. I will miss you. Rest in peace, dear friend. May God keep you forever.

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