Obituaries – 07-09-2014

Melanie Fretwellobit-fretwell-new

Melanie Fretwell, 71, of Holmes Beach, died June 25.

She was born in West Germany and was the only member of her family to emigrate to the United States.

While living in Manhattan Beach, California, she met James H “Stretch” Fretwell and, after a move Los Alamos, New Mexico, they married.

Mrs. Fretwell started Pajarito Travel, a travel agency, in Los Alamos. Her innovations had not been seen there before, such as travel trade shows, dual electronic booking systems and co-locating with a car rental agency. Her success with both large business contracts and boutique travel tours led to a second office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Always looking for a way to make the ordinary extraordinary, Mrs. Fretwell enjoyed the creativity of travel — including surprising a client by hand-delivering a last-minute travel visa and staging a mariachi band on a pier to surprise a scuba diving boat in Cozumel.

On her husband’s retirement from Los Alamos National Lab, the couple moved to Anna Maria Island, where she worked with a local architect to build a retirement home. Her design and gardening skills blossomed in the new tropical environment.

A private service for family and friends was held at the family home.

Mrs. Fretwell is survived by her husband; sons Bruce of Alexandria, Virginia, and Kirk of Carlisle, Massachusetts; and grandchildren Alexa, Monika and Karl.


Don Lee Hilgeman

Don Lee Hilgeman, 79, of Holmes Beach and also of St. Marys, Ohio, died June 27 at home in St. Marys. He was born in Portland, Indiana, to Fred and Nora Bitzinger Hilgeman.

He was a graduate of Portland High School. He had a long and successful career developing mobile home and RV parks, and buying and selling equipment. He liked to fish and travel the country in his RV. He was a compassionate man, who gave his time and talent to many people, churches and philanthropic causes.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date in Ocala. Condolences may me made online at

Mr. Hilgeman is survived by wife Doris Leeger Tonkin; children Denise Delle Donne of Palm Coast, Florida, and Darin of Ormond Beach, Florida; grandchildren Devin Delle Donne, Brianna Tonkin and Kira Tonkin; sister Evelyn Clear of St. Marys; and brother Norman of Coldwater, Michigan.


Alice Jeghelianobit-Jeghelian

Alice Jeghelian, 85, died June 21. She was born Aug. 8, 1928, to Harry and Mary Jeghelian.

Ms. Jeghelian was a 1949 graduate of Mount Holyoke College.

She was active and dynamic, just a month and a half from her 86th birthday. She was the embodiment of “the uncommon woman” as defined by Mount Holyoke College president Richard Glen Gettell in 1958.

She had a passion for higher education and learning and her career was exclusively with academic institutions, starting in clerical positions at Harvard and MIT, she returned to Mount Holyoke as sssistant director of admissions. She went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Harvard and a doctorate in counseling and psychology from Boston College.

While working at Boston College, she was named a special assistant and, for 25 years, she worked there as an advocate on behalf of women and minorities.

On retirement in 1994, she moved to Bradenton, and completed training as a court mediator and was appointed to the 12th Judicial Circuit Small Claims Court.

She sang with the Anna Maria Island Chorus and Orchestra and served on its board of directors, including as treasurer and vice president. She enjoyed painting in watercolor. She found no end to social and cultural activities that enriched and rewarded her.

A private service was held June 27 at Breslin Funeral Home in Malden, Massachusetts. Memorial donations may be made to Anna Maria Island Chorus and Orchestra at

Ms. Jeghelian is survived by brother Leo; sister Jaye Howes and husband William, nieces Lisa von Wendt and husband Jan Paul and Susan and husband Kevin Curtin; nephew Leo S. and wife Linda; great nieces and nephews Elliott, Isabella, Francesca, Sarah, Peter and Samuel.

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