A beautiful light in our family has joined the starry skies. Melanie Ruth Duran passed away unexpectedly at her home in Livingston, Montana on November 12, 2022. She was 75.
Melanie was born on August 19, 1947 in Sun Valley, California to Ruth and Robert Bryan, with her triplet siblings Merrilee and Robert Jr. Even as newborns, the triplets made a splash appearing in ads for Formulac Infant Nutrition in magazines like Ladies Home Journal. Along with their older sister Betsey, they enjoyed their childhood attending a one-room schoolhouse in Glencoe, a small quartz mining community in northern California. The family moved back to southern California when Melanie and her siblings were teens.
In 1968, Melanie married the love of her life, Augustine Camarillo Duran. A year later, they welcomed their first son, Luke, followed by a second son, Jody, in 1972.
A love for nature and a fresh start compelled the family to leave the city life of Los Angeles, and relocate to Livingston, Montana in 1976. Melanie found her “forever home” here, enjoying picnics at Pine Creek, trips to Yellowstone National Park, and community
engagement through close friendships, book clubs, singing in the local choir, aerobics classes and 4-H activities. Her mother and two sisters also settled in to Livingston’s community, so Melanie always enjoyed family close at hand.
A hardworking couple, Augustine (Tín) found work as a machinist with Burlington Northern Rail, and Melanie worked in Livingston Public Schools as a secretary and librarian. Here she had great impact on many Livingston students whom she interacted with over the years.
Melanie was a keen listener and intelligent observer of emotion, and possessed a special gift in providing empathy, insight and understanding to those who were struggling internally. People simply gravitated to her presence, and were very comfortable in opening up and confiding to her in their darkest moments and deepest needs. In 1990, after her sons graduated from high school, she heeded this calling, and attended Montana State University in Bozeman to achieve her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Clinical Therapy. She established her practice, Crossroads Counseling in Livingston, where she served many people throughout the county as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Melanie also initiated Livingston HealthCare’s Employee Assistance Program, which provides free professional counseling sessions for members of the health care community. Melanie was instrumental in promoting and facilitating wellness programs like smoking cessation and diabetes education.
Upon retirement, Melanie volunteered at Livingston Healthcare as a welcoming and friendly face offering comfort, advice and answers to patients and families entering the hospital.
Over the past year, Tín and Melanie parted with their long-time home of 40 years between Livingston and Bozeman. Along with Melanie’s sister Merrilee, they moved out to a home in Shields Valley where they could be closer to their son Jody and his family.
Melanie is survived by her husband Augustine Duran of Livingston, with whom she enjoyed 54 years of marriage; her son Luke (Marianne) Duran of Helena; her son Jody (Laurie) Duran of Shields Valley; sister Betsey (Bill) Kiley of Livingston; brother Robert Bryan of Anahola, Kauai; sister Merrilee Bryan of Livingston; granddaughter Alyson (Kamron) Hoffman of Clyde Park; granddaughter Amber Duran of Livingston; grandson Cadence Duran of Helena; granddaughter Stella Duran of Helena; and great-grandaughter Halle Hoffman of Clyde Park, and numerous beloved family members.
Melanie is preceded in death by her parents Robert and Ruth Bryan.
No public services are planned, however her family will plant an oak tree in the spring to feel her presence and celebrate her life.
Melanie was a great lover of animals, and enjoyed the companionship of a number of shelter dogs and cats over the years. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to be made in her honor to Stafford Animal Shelter or to Livingston HealthCare Hospice.
Melanie Duran will be greatly missed by her family. She served as “kin keeper” and communicator among her loved ones. Her spirit and light will continue on as a guidestar in their hearts and in the night sky.