Lin Hsiu-I was born on Dec. 4, 1968, in Bei-dou township in central Taiwan.
Her family later moved to Hua-lien on the east coast of Taiwan, where her sister Su-Yuen (Tess) was born, then soon moved to the southern port city of Kaohsiung, the city that Melanie calls her hometown.
Melanie was a star student, always testing out as the top student in her class. She told her father she wanted to learn piano and her wish was granted, and thus began a lifelong love of the piano.
For secondary school, Melanie selected WenZao Urceline College - later to become WenZao Urceline University – known for its proficient language programs. She studied English and became proficient enough to be selected – while still a student -- to be the tour guide for visiting U.S. Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming in 1988. Melanie loved her years at WenZao and was so proud of her school and how it has grown in the years since; it is her true alma mater.
After graduating WenZao in 1990, Melanie made the big move to the U.S. and received her bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Texas, followed by her master’s degree from Santa Clara University in 1994. It was at Santa Clara that she met fellow MBA student Tony Capretta.
Melanie and Tony dated for a year before Tony proposed in October 1995. Melanie and Tony were married in a small civil ceremony in Pleasanton, California, on Feb. 14, 1996 – then were married in the church at St. Augustine in Pleasanton two years later, in front of their family and friends.
In 1999, Melanie and Tony took job assignments that moved them from California to Zhuhai, China, where they stayed until 2003. During this time, Melanie’s sister Tess and her family also moved to Zhuhai, and Tony and Melanie’s daughter Catherine was born in 2001. This was some of the best time in Melanie’s life, and she always looked back on her years living in Zhuhai with great fondness. Following the conclusion of the assignment, Melanie and Tony moved back to the U.S. and landed in Dublin, California.
In the prior years, in both the U.S. and in China, Melanie had attended Catholic Mass with Tony each Sunday. In China, this took place in Macau, a city that Melanie and Tony both came to love. But now, Melanie was introduced to a community of Taiwanese-immigrant Catholics in Fremont, California, and Tony and Melanie made this community their new home for Sunday mass. It was through the Chinese Catholic Community of St. Joseph that the Holy Spirit touched Melanie’s heart, and led her to convert to the Catholic faith, into which she was baptized by Father Stanislaus Poon on Easter, April 8, 2007.
Melanie was now on fire with the Holy Spirit. She was a front-line evangelist, telling everyone who would listen about her conversion and how Jesus Christ had saved her life. She completed her Cursillo in 2007, then took on ministries in Youth Faith Formation and Prison Ministry, and she was also accompanist for the CCCSJ mass. Beyond these official ministries, she was an ambassador for Jesus wherever she went and with whomever she conversed. Her bright smile and her deep faith moved many people, and she made new friends at the optometrist, at Clubsport, at Sherman Clay – everywhere she went.
It was during this time that Tony and Melanie’s son, Matthew, was born in 2008. Matthew was truly a gift from God and brought more joy into the household.
Melanie’s faith continued to grow and mature. She became involved in supporting the 40 Days for Life ministry, she was part of WINGS and the St. Ignatius spiritual exercises group at St Raymond. She was a member of multiple bible-study groups, including Sandra Hung’s weekly bible study in Fremont.
As a loving mother she ensured her children received strong faith formation and, of course, piano lessons.
After several years in Dublin, Tony and Melanie and family moved to San Ramon in 2018. In early 2019, Melanie was diagnosed with fourth-stage pancreatic cancer. Her family and friends were devastated, but Melanie received this news with grace and courage. She told all who would hear her that this cancer was here to bless her, and that she was ready for whatever path our Lord had for her. She was unwavering in her faith in God’s goodness and responded to every event with “Thank you, Jesus!”
Throughout 2019, many friends and family came to visit Melanie, to share their love for her. Her sister Tess came from New Zealand and brought her two daughters, Stephanie and Claire, for the summer. Despite the chemotherapy, the side effects that accompanied it and the knowledge of where her journey was going to lead, Melanie was joyful, faithful and radiating God’s light at all times. She was truly amazing in the way she handled her journey with cancer, and this brought her even more friends.
Melanie made a final trip to her beloved homeland of Taiwan at Christmas 2019. Soon after returning, it was time to stop the chemotherapy and enter hospice. Melanie passed very peacefully on Sunday, July 19. She had just completed a video call with her sister Tess, and she passed very quietly as Tony held her hand. She will be missed greatly, but her memory will inspire us forever.