Melissa Ann Wiley, 42, formerly of Shelbyville, IN passed away Friday, April 8, 2022 at her residence in Chicago, IL.
She was born June 2, 1979 in Shelbyville to Julian Wiley and Carol (Riemenschneider) Wiley.
Melissa attended Shelbyville High School and went on to earn multiple degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts, English, Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, and a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University.
Melissa was an active member of the literary community and was very gifted in many different facets of writing as an author, editor, and volunteer.
Her two published books were “Antlers in Space and Other Common Phenomena” (Split/Lip Press), and “Skull Cathedral: A Vestigial Anatomy” (Autumn House Press). More books were awaiting publication and many more were to come. Skull Cathedral was being taught to creative writing students at Towson University. Bookstores across the country were featuring her as an emerging author.
Melissa was a powerful and award winning essayist. Over 60 essays appeared in a host of literary publications such as DIAGRAM, Atlas and Alice, Passages North, Sonora Review, PANK, Superstition Review, American Literary Review, Identity Theory, Terrain.org, The Rumpus, Entropy, Split Lip Magazine, Waxwing, Tin House Press, and many more (https://www.melissa-wiley.com/about). She also won top awards, including: the 2019 Winner of the Autumn House Press Nonfiction Contest, 2021 Longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, the 2016 Sarah Patton Award in Nonfiction from The Writer’s Hotel, and she was invited to DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal.
Melissa was also a creative nonfiction editor of Sundog Lit. There her colleagues praised her “wit and grace, and light, and intuition”. Her work at Sundog grounded her as a writer and she was able to cultivate the talent of other writers. Melissa also served as a mentor in the PEN America Prison Writing Program.
Melissa was a continuous seeker and, no matter what, she always found something fun to do. She and her husband traveled all over the world visiting and making friends along the way. She believed that this life was just one stage of an ongoing journey. She was an extremely kind soul, a bright light, animated, always had a smile on her face, encouraged everyone she met, and had a contagious laugh. She was an original.
Melissa married Robert DiBlasi on April 23, 2005, and he survives. She is also survived by her sister, Melanie (Wiley) Bachmeyer (Jonathan), her nephew, George Bachmeyer, her niece, Hazel Bachmeyer, her father in law Gregory DiBlasi (Pamela Wright), her brother in law Thomas DiBlasi (James Rossi).
Melissa was preceded in death by her parents.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to Noon, Monday, April 18, 2022 at Murphy-Parks Funeral Service, 703 S. Harrison Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176.
A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 12:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 125 E. Broadway, Shelbyville, with Father Mike Keucher, officiating.
There will be a Celebration of Life in Chicago on June 4, 2022 and a Burial will be in Van Pelt Cemetery at a later date.
Funeral Directors, Greg Parks, Sheila Parks, and Stuart Parks are honored to serve Melissa’s family. Online condolences may be shared at www.murphyparks.com.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, Sundog Lit, or any creative arts organization of your choice.
To send flowers to Melissa's family, please visit our floral store.