Melanie Matarese Popjes

August 25, 1980 ~ July 23, 2020 (age 39)

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Melanie Matarese Popjes went to be with the Lord on July 23, 2020.  Born on August 25, 1980, Melanie was a resident of Fort Mill, SC.  She graduated from Northwestern HS in Rock Hill, in 1998, where she was Student Body President, an NHS Cheerleader for all 4 years, and a National Honor Society member, among many other activities and accolades.  She attended Appalachian State University, graduating in 2002, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.  While at Appalachian, she was a member of Chi Omega Sorority and was President her senior year.  After graduating college, Melanie started her career at Family Dollar corporate offices in Charlotte, NC, and moved to Jacksonville, FL in 2013, where she worked for several companies in executive HR leadership positions.  In 2012, Melanie married the love of her life, Jamie, on Fripp Island, SC.  Shortly thereafter, she and Jamie moved back home, to Fort Mill, SC, where she continued her career in HR, eventually founding eMpowered Growth Consulting firm.  In August 2019, Melanie and Jamie adopted our sweet little girl, Isla Joy.  Melanie has never been happier than she was as Isla Joy’s mother and Jamie’s wife. 


Melanie leaves a lasting legacy to be remembered by her husband, Jamie, and her beautiful little girl, Isla Joy, as well as her brother Michael Matarese, his wife Katy Faulk Matarese, and her nephew, Karson; her parents, Dian and Joe McDermott and Robert Matarese; her in-laws, Rita and Ron Popjes; her sister and brother in law, Kris and John Westra, and niece Caitlin, and nephew, Ryan, her aunts, Dona Reagan, Veronica Matarese, Linda Matarese; her uncles, Gary Reagan, Chris Matarese; her cousins; Jacqueline Mines, Sara Korang, Jamie Matarese, Dennis Hines, Catie Lammers, Anna Desbiaux and her lifelong best friend, Bonnie Brookshire Ferguson. Melanie’s many friends will surely miss her.


Melanie was giving, caring, supportive, adventurous, funny, and loving.  She had a passion for people, for understanding them, helping them, and supporting them.  Melanie’s desire has always been to help others see the potential in themselves.  She was passionate about her work, and more importantly, passionate and dedicated to her friends and family.  She built life-long connections and her love for friends and family was at the core of who she is.  She always had a ready smile, never met a stranger, with kind words for all.  She gave unselfishly, encouraged others through tough times, and celebrated when life was good.  She was an organ and tissue donor and continues to live on in those who have received her gifts.  She loved the outdoors, her dogs, her horse Chick, mac and cheese, sunsets, traveling, being inspired by quotes, with a passion for her Carolina Panthers, and any opportunity to spend time with the people she loved, but most importantly, Jamie, Isla and  Maude, her rescued dog.


A Celebration of Life service will be held at 5pm EST,  on Thursday, July 30, 2020, at Lifepointe Church, 390 York Southern Rd., Ft. Mill, SC, 29715.  A visitation with the family will be held after the service at the church.  For those that are unable to attend, the service will be live-streamed Lifepointe’s YouTube channel.  At any point PRIOR TO the service, please visit “Lifepointe Church (Fort Mill)” YouTube channel’s page at and hit the red “Subscribe” button.  By doing this PRIOR TO the service, this will give you a notification when in fact the service does go live, which will start at 4:55pm EST on Thursday.


The family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to all the doctors, nurses, and chaplains that cared for Melanie at Beaufort Memorial and Savannah Memorial Health University. 


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the foundations below:


Melanie had a  life long devotion to Camp Cherokee for most of her life, as a camper, counselor, and as a founding member of the CCC board.  Please donate to the Cherokee Conservation Corps by visiting and selecting Melanie Matarese Popjes Memorial Fund under the designation tab.  


After a long journey to parenthood, Bethany Christian Services (BCS) brought Isla Joy into the loving arms of Jamie and Melanie in August 2019 through adoption.   Memorial donations can also be made to Bethany Christian Services by visiting and selecting “Give in honor of someone”. 



Isla Joy has the best mother in the world, and she needs to know Melanie as she continues to grow in her life journey.  Please help us in helping Isla Joy know and understand her mother - Melanie’s giant heart, Melanie’s big smile, Melanie’s infectious energy, and Melanie’s absolute love of all the people, places, and things in this world that were near and dear to her.  Put simply, the bright light that Melanie was in this world to all that knew her.  There is no better way to convey this than through storytelling, and we not only desire, but need, your stories of Melanie for us to share with Isla in the coming days, months, and years.  Please bring a letter with you to the service that we will collect, or you can instead email with your letter.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melanie Matarese Popjes, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
July 30, 2020

5:00 PM
Lifepointe Church

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