Cover photo for Melissa M. Clarkson's Obituary
Melissa M. Clarkson Profile Photo
1984 Melissa 2023

Melissa M. Clarkson

August 6, 1984 — January 10, 2023

PONCA – This beautiful, outgoing ray of sunshine passed away Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha with her loving husband by her side. She was 38.

Memorial services will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Ponca State Park Resource and Education Center, with Father Andy Sohm officiating. Visitation will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day, also at the state park, with lunch served during that time.

Mohr Funeral Home in Ponca is assisting with arrangements.

She’s the type of person who would stash fried chicken inside her bra during a wedding reception or bake her grandmother an “adult” birthday cake.

That was Melissa Clarkson – funny, spontaneous and a little bit crazy. Her smile could light up a room, her infectious laughter could brighten anyone’s day and her unfiltered sense of humor could make a sailor blush.

There will never be anyone quite like her.

Melissa was born on Aug. 6, 1984, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Ralph “Don” Jr. and Lauri (Beldin) Surber. Even at a young age, this fun-loving ball of energy did things her own way. Instead of crawling, she used her arms and legs to scoot across the floor, collecting various items in her diaper along the way.

Long before TikTok, she entertained other students by dancing to “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” instantly making it one of the school bus driver’s least favorite songs. She was “always up to something.”

Growing up in a household with three brothers, Melissa wasn’t afraid to be one of the boys. But she also had her Marilyn Monroe side.

She graduated from Laurel-Concord High School in 2003 and Le Mars Beauty College. Nobody could do her hair and makeup the way she could, so we didn’t even let the funeral home try.

Melissa married Lee Clarkson on Oct. 4, 2008, in Dixon, Nebraska, and the couple had two children, Eli and Covey. She worked at Classic Cuts, Cost Cutters and Salon Volume in Sioux City, Iowa, before becoming a full-time mother.

Melissa was kind and caring – as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She loved her family, especially her children, who share her feisty attitude. We know she’ll always be watching over them.

She enjoyed cooking – usually way more food than anyone needed – and entertaining for family and friends. She also enjoyed “glamping” and spending time at the lake. When Melissa was around, everyone had a good time.

She’ll keep us laughing for years to come as we continue to share the many, many stories from our time together.

Those left to honor her memory include her husband, Lee Clarkson of Ponca, Nebraska; children, Eli and Covey; mother, Lauri (Jeff) Langley of McCook Lake, South Dakota; father, Don (Patti) Surber of Belden, Nebraska; brothers, Ryan (Alina) Surber of Wayne, Nebraska, Bennie (Holli) Surber of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, and Brent (Allie Hagedorn) Surber of Hartley, Iowa; grandfather, Ralph Surber of Randolph, Nebraska; grandmother, Virginia Fickle of Waterbury, Nebraska; step-grandparents, Bill and Mary Langley of Sioux City, Iowa; stepsiblings, Wes Langley of Colorado, Brett Langley of Sioux City, Iowa, Stacey Langley of McCook Lake, South Dakota, Faith (Mike) Thomas of Lincoln, Nebraska, Nick (Samantha) Sweisberger of Junction City, Kansas, and Amber Sweisberger of Sioux City, Iowa; father- and mother-in-law, Bob and Deb Clarkson of Concord, Nebraska; sisters-in-law, Joan (Lee) Heimes of Wynot, Nebraska, Cori (Marcus) Whitten of Elkhorn, Nebraska, and Daria Clarkson of Concord, Nebraska; and many other family members and friends.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Bennie and Shirley Beldin, Jack Fickle and Janice Miller; and her beloved Brussels Griffon, Yukon Cornelius.

 In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family.

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