Melanie C. Fields, 69, of Taylor’s Island passed away at her home on Saturday, February 25, 2023 with her loving family surrounding her. She was born in San Francisco, CA on June 15, 1953 to the late Adam Morgan and Vivian Jordan Morgan.
Melanie graduated from University of California Berkeley, where she met and fell in love with R. Douglas “Doug” Fields, while they were studying marine biology at Bodega Bay Marine Lab in California. She had a deep love of nature and especially the ocean. They were married on June 17, 1978 in the Santa Cruz mountains. Together, they had three wonderful children whom she adored. Melanie taught Upper School science at Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. for 34 years, retiring in 2021.
In 2019, Doug and Melanie relocated to Taylor’s Island, where they planned to retire. Several times daily, Melanie would comment with delight and gratitude on moving to Taylor’s Island where she could experience the joys of Dorchester County’s wildlife and the close-knit community. She loved living right by the Chesapeake Bay, fishing, crabbing, and watching the Bald Eagles fly. The focal point of every day was stopping to watch the glorious sunsets reflecting on the water.
Melanie was an extremely generous and giving person. As a teacher, Melanie’s students saw her as a safe person to trust and to respect. Her classroom, packed with biological specimen and a menagerie of living creatures, snakes, turtles, shad, electric fish, and injured animals that she and her students nursed back to health, was a gathering place for all students at all times. Every day she baked Amish friendship bread, cookies, or brownies for the hungry teenagers in her classroom.
Melanie was a firm believer in teaching through experience, and she brought a vast array of life experiences and knowledge to her students. She had a tremendous impact on her students, encouraging them to conduct original scientific research and to present their findings at professional conferences. One of her former students, now an accomplished biochemist, encapsulated Melanie’s pedagogy when she explained, “Fields didn’t teach science. She taught us how to be scientists.”
An avid lover of nature and the wilderness, Melanie gave her heart and soul to the Outing Club, which she founded, to bring students on adventures all over the United States to camp, backpack, rock climb, canoe, and scuba dive. She was embraced by the community of rock climbers at Seneca Rocks, West Virgina, Joshua Tree, California, Yosemite, and Carderock, Maryland.
Melanie firmly believed that everyone is equal through God’s eyes, and as such treated everyone equally. As a mother, she was an example of how to be as a person, and she loved with every cell in her being. She inspired a curiosity and appreciation for life that her family will continue. Melanie was a truly genuine spirit. Food was a love language that Melanie knew well. She cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day for her family, and she always included a special note in their lunch boxes to remind them of how loved they were. She cooked a wide range of cultural foods, especially seafood and Ethiopian recipes. Even as she was ill, she was baking for her doctors, nurses, and hospital receptionists to make sure they knew they were appreciated. She was an avid letter writer, sending postcards and letters daily to her former students and her many friends around the world.
Melanie is survived by her husband Doug of Taylor’s Island; her children Dylan Fields and wife Lydia of Wilmington, North Carolina, Morgan Fields and husband Clay Meier of Crested Butte, Colorado, and Kelly Fields of Joshua Tree, California; her grandson, who was the absolute love of her life, Liam Fields Meier; and her sister Lin Barrett. Besides her parents, Melanie is preceded in death by her brother Brian Morgan.
A memorial service for Melanie will be held at the Friends Meeting House on the Sidwell Friends campus at 10 am, March 18, 2023. Instead of flowers, donations to establish a grant program for students to conduct scientific internships and wilderness adventures will carry on Melanie’s legacy of giving to young people: https://www.sidwell.edu/support-us/make-a-gift/melanie-fields Arrangements are in the care of Thomas Funeral Home, P.A. in Cambridge.