Melissa Zahn

Melissa Lynn Zahn, age 33 of Jordan, passed away peacefully at her home on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. A visitation will be held Wednesday, March 14, 2018 from 3-7PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home, 833 S. Marschall Rd., Shakopee. A memorial service celebrating her life will be Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 4:30PM with a visitation starting at 3:00PM all at River Valley Church, 1350 Crossing Blvd., Shakopee. Melissa will be laid to rest at Spirit Hill Cemetery in Jordan. Pastor Aaron Cole will preside.

On March 18, 1984, parents Steve and Sherry Norvitch celebrated the birth of their first child, Melissa Lynn Norvitch. She was the oldest of three children and raised in Mountain Iron, MN. From a young age, Melissa had a type A personality and was determined to achieve her goals. Her younger brother, Phil, and sister, Angie, were kept in line by Melissa—she was always like a second mother to them. The family enjoyed spending time together and with relatives on holidays, vacations and at the cabin.

Melissa attended Mountain Iron-Buhl High School and graduated in 2003. Understanding the importance of education, Melissa earned college credits during high school through PSEO. She continued her schooling at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, earning a degree in education in 2006. This was just the beginning of her journey for higher education—she later earned her Master’s from St. Mary’s and was preparing to receive her Doctorate this May from Bethel University.

During her 21st birthday celebration, Melissa met fellow UMD student, Brian Zahn. Melissa’s energy and personality immediately caught Brian’s attention. They dated for three years before exchanging wedding vows on October 11, 2008 at the Chisholm Baptist Church. The couple settled in Jordan to begin their married life. Together they attended concerts, sporting events, and traveled to Hawaii, Colorado, Florida and Punta Cana. When home, Melissa always had a honey-do list for Brian as they renovated and improved their home.

Melissa began her teaching career as a substitute teacher in Chaska, then settled into her teaching role in 1st and 2nd grades at Red Oak, then moved on to be the dean of Red Oak. Recognizing her potential, the school transferred her to Sweeney Elementary as the assistant principal. It was not long before she was promoted to principal. Even though she had great success in her teaching career, Melissa had another dream to accomplish—to be a mother. With the help of a gestational carrier, Melissa and Brian welcomed their son Henry into the world in January 2016. While Henry looks like Brian, Melissa’s personality shines through in him.

Melissa spent every day living to the fullest and always recognized opportunities to help others in need. When faced with a six-year journey with breast cancer, she maintained positivity and was committed to encouraging and supporting others going through similar struggles. Melissa’s strong faith brought her the peace and strength to fight her cancer courageously and make the most of each day. The bravery Melissa exemplified during her fight against cancer was an inspiration to many others and made the journey easier for her loved ones.

Melissa will be greatly missed by her husband, Brian and their son, Henry; parents, Steve and Sherry Norvitch; sister, Angie Norvitch; brother, Phil and his wife, Kelsey Norvitch, and their daughter, Ellie; grandmother, Joyce Pernu; mother-in-law, Cheryl Zahn; brother-in-law, Jeff and his wife, Beth Zahn, and their daughter, Katherine; brother-in-law, Mike and his wife, Chris; brother-in-law, Scott and his wife, Missy, and their children, Emma, Greta, Owen, and Ava; sister-in-law, Jenny Hoagland and her husband, Chris.

Melissa is greeted in Heaven by her maternal grandfather, Duane “Munty” Pernu; paternal grandparents, Harold and Rita Norvitch; and father-in-law, Gerald Zahn.

Melissa’s family extends their appreciation to everyone who has cared for them over the years and during this difficult time. You are invited to share memories of Melissa for Henry at

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Condolence Messages

  1. Kaela McKinley

    My deepest sympathies on your loss, light and love from the Iron Range.

  2. Sorry for your incredible loss. So connected with her kids, staff and families. Will be sadly missed.

  3. sherry and family we are all thinking of you during this most difficult time Melissa was an inspiration to all young women. Her caring nature and giving personality will be remembered .

  4. Our Sweeney family was shocked and saddened today by the news of Melissa’s passing. Please know that your family is in our thoughts and prayers. Her strength and positivity inspired all of us and she will never be forgotten.

  5. Krysten Saatela Foster, Silver Bay, MN

    Thinking of the Norvitch Family, Brian, and Henry. Melissa will always be an inspiration. Sending our sympathy.

  6. Mackenzie Moretter

    Mrs Zahn was a wonderful teacher who faught hard I love her so much! Mrs Zahn, you will be in my heart forever!

    Stay strong for Mrs. Zahn

  7. Deb Malone Shakopee High School

    My heartfelt sympathy to Brian and Henry and family and friend’s of Melissa!
    You are all in my thoughts and prayers!
    God bless you all and Melissa’s memory!

  8. The Dentlingers

    God has gained and our world has lost an amazing woman, wife/mother, friend, educator, and person. To Brian and Henry as well as the entire Norvitch and Zahn families, may God bring you peace and comfort and your angel Melissa above always watch over you, protect you, and guide you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  9. Vicki Carpenter (mom of Sweeney student)

    What an amazing lady. Her strength will live on in her beautiful son. Prayers for all of her family and friends.

  10. All my love, thoughts, and prayers go out to Melissa’s family, friends, and all who knew her. She was an incredible women and educator. I had the privilege to see her speak last month at my church for our Tuesday night “Sisterhood” meeting and it was the highlight of my first year in Sisterhood. She will be missed everyday but I hope everyone takes comfort in knowing that heaven gained another beautiful angel and Melissa is now with our amazing Father. ❤️

  11. Mary Olberding

    “What the heart has loved , it never loses.” I will always remember Melissa as a very caring person and a dedicated teacher- an honor to my profession.

  12. I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Melissa. My thoughts and prayers are with Melissa’s friends and family. Please take comfort that she is now with God while still inspiring us on earth.

  13. So sorry for your loss. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. May God wrap you in his arms and give you comfort.

  14. Linda & Mike Hughes

    Melissa was a dear friend of our Hughes family in Shakopee. We met Melissa only once, but we have heard so many wonderful things about her. Our condolences go out to her husband and son. Having read many stories about her, it is obvious she will be missed by so many. She was certainly loved.

  15. I did not know Melissa personally, but as a substitute teacher for many years I knew of her. In reading her blog I have found she was a person of deep faith, knew her Savior, and trusted in God’s plan. I am so sorry her family has lost her presence here on earth, but because she believed she is in heaven with Jesus.

  16. Amanda and Riley Wilson

    Melissa was always so wonderful to be around with her happy and kind personality. Thinking of the family during this difficult time. Many prayers!

  17. My heart is so saddened by the deep loss you all share with Melissa now gone from all of our lives. Knowing her as a teen and then reconnecting on Facebook kept in her life and really…all of her family’s! She welcomed all those around her and was the kind of Godly woman we all want our girls to grow up and be. Know she will never be forgotten. Praying for peace during this hard time…

  18. Jenny Wilson Spohn

    Being a part of Melissa’s life of an absolute honor. I met her over a decade ago in a bar in Duluth. Believe it or not it was actually a Bone Thugs and Harmony concert that Melissa and I were attending with our boyfriends. Mel and I instantly hit it off and have been great friends since then. I remember vividly when she told me that she had found a lump, I told her it was probably nothing…how wrong I was. The past six and a half years Melissa has showed me what true strength is. She has showed me how powerful you can be when you put your faith in God. Melissa has taught me so much in my life it’s incredible. The day she died changed my life. I will constantly live to honor her memory, I will do everything that I know she wish so badly she could have. I miss you so badly Melissa and I love you so much. Get some rest you deserve it. I will stand by Brian and Henry side until the day I die my friend. Xoxo

  19. Annie & Steve Larson

    Our condolences Sherry and family..though Mellisa’journey on earth was short..her spirit and joy lives on in many…she is now and forever in the arms of Jesus….her LORD and Savior will help you all in the coming days as you lean on Him..

  20. Words can never express the feelings and sorrow that my family has felt for a neighborhood family we consider our own. Growing up on “The Range” you know everyone and some that you don’t expect become like your family. That’s the Norvitch family for me. Now today we look at the Facebook posts of a courageous, love able, strong willed, bright and inspiring woman that never let cancer get the best of her. She had a positive attitude and zest for life. I know where she gets her strength from and that’s her mom and dad and her faith in god. Melissa has touched the lives of so many and for that I am greatful for the time I got to spend with her here on earth and I will never say goodbye to her but see you on the other side. One day we will meet again. Henry and Brian I have thought about you so much and what your going to do without Melissa and after praying the other morning for you both and your families it came to me that there is a plan and everything is going to be ok because you have the “BEST” guardian angel looking over you who is now not suffering and is whole again. She will proceed and guide you as that is what her focus now will be. There are no words to make this easier or to take away the loss of Melissa but knowing that there are so many people supporting you all.

  21. Mindy Lind Rumpl

    Dear Norvich & Zahn Family:

    So sorry to hear this sad news, although it’s been so long, I have a lot of great memories playing with Melissa, Angie & Phil when you guys visited with my grandma Tyne at her cabin on lake vermillion. I wish u peace and comfort during this difficult time, love and prayers to you guys, sweet baby Henry and Melissa’s husband.

    Mindy Lind Rumpl & family

  22. I have enjoyed building a praying friendship through facebook or when we saw each other at district events over the last couple years. I will continue to pray for your family. See you someday Melissa. Give my grandpa a hug for me, he just got there too.

  23. I had the privilege of Meeting Melissa by giving her glory back a couple years ago. Her hair. Melissa is vivacious, and a truly beautiful person. Full of life. Loved by many. I truly will miss her. The world lost a bright light to our small world.
    I look forward to seeing you again in heaven Melissa. Thats our hope in Christ. Jon Richards

  24. Dear Zahn family,
    You do not know me, but I heard of Melissa’s passing from Jeff today at work. It is so sad to hear that such young life has to be claimed by our Lord at such early stage in our destiny. However, God lets us do our task while on earth, knowing that eventually, He has a greater task for us to complete in heaven. I can only imagine how great your pain must be, but keep in mind that Our Lord and Savior has a way to transcend what is humanly possible and give us peace when we most need it. I pray for your spiritual comfort, as I can’t say I understand your pain. I just know that it has to be very deep. May God the creator of everything in heaven and earth give you peace and the comfort that transcends all human understanding. I am so sorry. God bless you always!

  25. Gary & Helen Aubol

    Steve & Sherry, We are very saddened to hear about your loss & at this time of great change. Our prayers are for you & your family.

  26. We grew up a street up from the Norvitch’s in Parkville. So saddened to hear of this.

    Jamie Skipper (and The Skipper’s)

  27. I want to send my deepest sympathy to Brian, Henry, and the rest of Melissa’s family. I am so glad we got to be good friends as PSEO students at Mesabi together. I have been thankful for Facebook to stay in touch with Melissa and to follow her courageous journey. I will never forget her. You are all in my prayers. ❤

  28. Mondésir Di maria

    All my condolences to you Norvitch families, so sorry for the loss, Angela , and the rest of your family, i’ll keep you in my prayers . I love you guys and may GOD helps you guys.

    Love, Mondesir Di maria

  29. My sincere sympathy and prayers to the entire family during this difficult time.
    Julie Koch

  30. Condolence to you and the whole family Angie.

  31. Dianne and Warren Janzen

    Our daughter teaches at Sweeney Elementary and through the years she would share many wonderful things about Melissa. Our hearts go out to all the family and we will continue to remember Melissa & family with lighting candles,lots of prayers and caring thoughts.

  32. Melissa your strength and inspiration will be carried in my heart forever. You inspired me to reach my goals and be a better teacher. My deepest condolences go out to Brian, Henry, family, and friends.

  33. Cheryl Hendrickson

    Sherry…My heart goes out to you and your family during this extremely difficult time.
    Melissa was the most faith-filled, courageous, positive person I have ever known and handled her many heartaches with such grace.
    I have many fond memories of our daughters early years with play dates and all the dance recitals with “Miss Debbie”.
    I know you have a strong faith and pray that with the Lord’s help he will fill you with his peace and strength for the days ahead. Love, Cousin Cheryl

  34. Dear Brian, Henry, and all of your family: Words cannot express how deeply my heart hurts for all of you. I know you have been told hundreds of times and have heard hundreds of stories about the impact Melissa has had on so many people in our community. Her spirit has touched all of our hearts at the deepest level because that is who she was on this earth, and that is who she is in her spirit. Her smile, her faith, her resilience, her kindness, her boldness, her courage, her joy, her transparency, her hope, and her great love for all are just a few of the traits that truly impacted me deeply these last several years. I know I am a better person by having met all of you. You have shown us what it means “and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”. Thank you for sharing yourselves with us and know that you are loved beyond measure…

  35. Mike and Stacey Socha

    Angie, Steve, Sherry, and Phil, Brian and Henry: I am so sorry. May our Father in heaven provide for you the strength and help you need. We are praying for you.

  36. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends. May you find some comfort in the promise found in Revelation 21: 3-4 and 1Thessalonians 4:14. Knowing that there is an opportunity to be reunited with loved ones.

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