Melanie Desautels

1962 ~ 2021


Oct. 15, 2021
6:30 PM
The Chateau at Le Jardin, 1910 East Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, Utah

Melanie was born at Fort Ord Army Post in California on March 23, 1962, to Howard Elwood Otteson and Dorothy Petersen Otteson. She entered this world as a welcome beautiful baby girl amongst three active brothers - Randy, Kevin, and Scott. Her inherent sweetness inspired Dorothy to nickname her ‘Sugar Babe’ - a moniker she used throughout Melanie’s life. Melanie’s enduring strength was forged by a necessity to hold her three roughhousing brothers at bay. She loved skiing the glassy waters and year-round snow of Oregon, as well as eating melted Velveeta cheese by the spoonful. The shared bedroom she decorated with her sister Valene was a vibrant clash of pinks, greens, and blues accenting yellow beds atop a neon pink carpet, all somehow made to work together in a way only Mel could accomplish. As a teenager, Dorothy encouraged her to become a vocalist, but her Farah Fawcett-style hairdo was better suited to modeling school, where she excelled and earned money far in excess of that imaginable by her peers working in ice-cream parlors and fast-food restaurants.

Melanie’s lifelong love for learning carried her from Sunset High School to BYU, where she studied humanities and accrued lifelong friends. She married Mitch Edwards in 1981, later divorcing but remaining a wonderful coparent to their three children, Chelsea, Nicholas, and Cameron. In a life full of achievements, Melanie considered her children her greatest.

In 2006, Melanie and Steve brought their five shared children on an unforgettable trip to Europe, culminating in their marriage amongst the picturesque lavender fields of Southern France. Melanie’s stepsons, Jordan and Justin, remain forever grateful of Melanie’s warm embrace of them as her own.

Melanie and Steve’s time together saw them swimming through the crystal waters of Hawaii, biking the undulant roads of Vermont in fall bloom, and exploring their home mountains of Park City - Steve often outpaced and in tow, but hand in hand and deeply in love, nevertheless.

Through it all, Steve’s deepest appreciation of Mel was found in simple observance of her guiding light, full heart, passionate friendships, love of bathes, and her ability to transform any space or outfit into a thing of wonder with her effortless beauty.

Beyond being the greatest wife, sister, daughter, friend, and curator of hats this world has ever known, Melanie was a teacher, healer, creator, and visionary of unmatched resolve. Through her example, we learned to love unconditionally in a world all to ready to place our unique characters in a box. A healer by nature, she possessed an innate mindfulness and emotional intelligence that found her helping us all, even in her own times of need. She shared this passion with the world through her chocolate company as the Leafy Mama, imbuing every bar with her entrepreneurial spirit, zest for color, and rich family tradition of chocolate making. There is no doubt that Christmas time memories of chocolate making with Dorothy, Chelsea, Valene, and their daughters are baked into every bite as her chocolates make their way to the shelves of Whole Foods and other name-brand retailers from Utah to Oregon and beyond.

To know Melanie was to love her, and to understand her irreplaceable ability to light up any room. We will all strive to honor her incredible spirit, love every day and celebrate the great gifts that she brought to this world.

Rather than a traditional service, we will be holding an “open house” for Mel at Le Jardin’s Chateau at Larkin Sunset Gardens, where her friends and family can mingle and share memories.

When: Friday, October 15, 2021, 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Larkin Sunset Gardens/Le Jardin, 1950 E 10600 S, Sandy, UT 84092

A separate “Celebration of Life” will be held in the spring in Park City.

We encourage guests to dress as colorfully as they wish to reflect Melanie’s bright personality, love of color, and sunny outlook on life.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The American Cancer Society:


Dear loved ones of Melanie,
As a Sunset High School and West Hills Ward alum, I knew Melanie as someone who seemed to carry sunlight with her wherever she went. We are so sorry for your loss and heartache, as surely you will miss her. Our heartfelt sympathy to your wonderful family and hope you find much joy in your memories of the beautiful person she was.

- Janet Ward Francis

I’m sad to hear this news; Mel was a bright light during my high school years and always treated others with kindness.

May her family and friends find peace and feel her love as time moves forward.

- Kathy Halpert Simmons

My memories of Melanie are so special and pure. A time of simplicity and girlfriends that are long gone but so special. We were friends in our early teens through high school. My heart breaks with this news. I'll remember her smile and
lite and warmth just like the last time I
saw her. Beautiful friend rest in pease and bring comfort to your loved ones.


I am very sorry for you loss. She was a wonderful representative of our school.

- Marlan Bell

I’m deeply heartbroken to hear of melanies passing!! She was truly a beautiful person! So incredibly kind, and will be deeply missed. I have a lot of memories hanging out at her house and Henri’s! Such good times! I’m praying for all of her family. Heaven gained an angel for sure!

- Jody Page (Shaw)

I grew up with the Ottesons, this is very sad, she was always very sweet.

- Chris Kemper

Don and our condolences on the loss of your beautiful wife.

- Barbara Nielsen

Eileen and I are so sorry to hear about your loss. We miss seeing always cheerful and smiling Melanie around our neighborhood.

John and Eileen Kelly, Park City

- John and Eileen Kelly

Our sincere condolences on the passing of Melanie, a beautiful person with an exceptional spirit.
We will always remember her sitting on her front porch wrapped in a blanket in the early morning hours.
She will be greatly missed in the neighborhood. She was such a good friend to Grover.

- Lew and Ceselie Goodwin and Grover