A second woman has died after being struck by lightning Sept. 6 on Crane Beach in Ipswich, police said Monday.
Marianne Mellnick, 69, of Concord died at Massachusetts General Hospital Saturday. Both women were struck during a microburst, a sudden, intense downdraft during a thunderstorm.
Her family recalled Mellnick as a fearless traveler, tireless outdoorswoman, and devoted mother. They said her adventurous life was cut too short.
“The day she was hit, she was having the time of her life with . . . her best friends,” said Barbara Dalo, Mellnick’s older sister. “She couldn’t have lived any other way than the way she lived.”
Marguerite Tomany, 61, of Thompson, Conn., died at Massachusetts General Hospital on Sept. 8.
Police said originally that the two women were swimming. But they said Monday that, according to further investigation and interviews with witnesses, the women were walking up the beach, toward the parking lot.
Keith Mellnick said his mother roamed the world, beginning with her first trip abroad to Europe at age 17, and eventually to places like Tanzania, Pakistan, and her father’s native Croatia, where she and Keith traveled together several years ago.
“Throughout my life, she has perfectly walked the line between being both my mom and one of my very best friends,” Keith wrote in an e-mail.
She was also a fearless and passionate skier, he said.
Marianne Mellnick “would dive headfirst down any black diamond [trail] anywhere in the world and come out of it either laughing hysterically or cursing like a sailor,” her son said. She also was an avid biker, kayaker, and hiker, and “dabbled in just about every active sport imaginable.”
Mellnick had an inexhaustible resource of energy, Keith said, and when she wasn’t skiing, traveling, or working on her home, she was devoting time to her beloved grandchildren, or volunteering at nonprofits like the Pine Street Inn or Habitat for Humanity. Her son recalled Mellnick getting down on her hands and knees to play “grammy choochoo,” toting her 3- and 5-year-old granddaughters — children from her older son, Mark Mellnick — around on her back.
“The sound of their innocent laughter was the most joyous sound in the world to her,” Keith wrote.
Born in New York City, Mellnick grew up in Pittsfield and later moved to Concord, where she lived for the past 41 years. There, she raised two boys as a single mother after a divorce, and despite having little money, always found the time to spend with her sons, Keith said. When her children got older, Mellnick gave them a taste of her adventurous spirit, taking them hiking once a month.
Professionally, Mellnick returned to school to earn her degree from Bentley College, and was a vice president at Circor International before she retired in 2010.
A memorial service for Mellnick will be held Friday at St. Michael’s Church in Bedford.
“What an amazing woman,” her son Keith said. “She was taken too soon, but she packed 10 lifetimes into her 69 years and raised my brother and me in a way that will empower us to get through this as a family.”
Kiera Blessing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.