Melinda Wilkins

Obituary of Melinda Page Wilkins

Melinda P. Wilkins, scholar, teacher, and cherished family member, died on September 7th in State College, Pennsylvania as a result of complications from lung disease. She was 66.

She was born July 5, 1957 in Elizabeth, New Jersey to William E. and Jane P. (Ferguson) Wilkins. As a toddler she moved with her parents to The Netherlands, and she grew up traveling the world living in Japan, Malaysia, Italy, and England before returning to the US to complete high school in Madison, New Jersey.

She attended the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) earning bachelor's and master's degrees in English. Later while employed at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), she earned a doctoral degree in American Studies. The title of her dissertation was, A Comfortable Evil: Female Serial Murderers in American Culture.

She taught courses in English and American Studies at Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University, Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg, and Penn State.

She is survived by her mother; her husband, Martin Pietrucha, of State College; son, Thomas West, his wife, Hawa, and daughters, Maya and Helai; son William West; stepdaughter Emily West and children, Bradley Viles and his wife, Jennifer, Clare West, and Thomas Viles; stepson James West IV and children, Avery and James V; stepson, Douglas Pietrucha; stepdaughter, Ellyn Pietrucha; her sister, Jennifer Berghage and her husband, Robert; and her brother, W. David Wilkins.

A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, 780 Waupelani Drive, State College, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 11:00 AM.

Online condolences may be made at

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Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, October 21, 2023
Universalist Fellowship of Centre County
780 Waupelani Drive
State College, Pennsylvania, United States
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