She lived in Colorado and California before returning to Spokane.
She graduated from Mead High School in 1978.
Later that year she enlisted in the Washington Air National Guard and, after Basic Training, began a career that would shape her life.
She made lifelong friends in the 141st Security Police Flight, and traveled the world with her unit, deploying around the country and the world, including Moron AB, Spain in support of Operation RESTORE HOPE.
Following a brief career with the Washington State Patrol, Melinda embarked on her boldest adventure yet, transferring from the 141st Security Police Flight to the legendary 116th Air Refueling Squadron, Washington Air National Guard and trained as an In Flight Air Refueling Specialist (Boom Operator).
Melinda loved to fly, and flying missions with her fellow aircrew members from the 116th was a dream made real for her.
She traveled the world, and in 1999, deployed in support of Operation ALLIED FORCE, where she flew combat and combat support missions over Kosovo and other countries.
In 2000, Melinda was injured in a training accident and had to give up her flying career, but she continued to support her unit as a Family Programs representative.
Melinda later became active in the Veteran’s Court Forum as an advocate and mentor to help veteran’s overcome service related difficulties.
She formed close bonds with her women’s combat veterans support group.
Melinda’s family was her greatest joy.
She married Michael Hirst in 1992, and in 1997 gave birth to Sam Hirst, who along with Michael and her family of John Hirst, Katie Naipo, Joe Hirst and their spouses and children were the center of her life.
She is survived by her mother, Susan Williams of Spokane; her father Darrell Pringle of Lake Havasu, Arizona; sister Kelly Jorgensen of Denver, Colorado and brother Jeff Pringle of Spokane as well as Michael, Sam, John, Katie and Joseph, nieces and nephews.
On August 7, 2014, we lost our beloved Melinda.
The sadness is more than we can bear at times, but please remember her life was joyous and full and God holds her in the palm of His hand now.
Please remember her in your prayers, but celebrate this life truly well lived in your memories and hearts.
Donations in her name to the Veteran’s Court Forum are a blessing in remembrance of her dedication to her fellow veterans.
A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, August 14 at 1 pm at Hennessey Funeral Home & Crematory, 2203 N. Division.
“Up, up the long delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, where never lark, or even eagle, flew; and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
- “High Flight”