Melinda Mihlbauer Obituary: CEO at PACE Scholarship Academy dies at 48

Sumter, South Carolina – The community of Sumter and beyond is deeply saddened by the peaceful transition of Melinda Baker Mihlbauer on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at the age of 48. Born on July 27, 1975, in Georgetown, Melinda was the cherished daughter of Carl and Gloria Baker and loving wife of Brooks A.J. Mihlbauer.

Melinda’s educational journey began in the public schools of Georgetown and Sumter counties. She graduated from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg in 1998, achieving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a minor in Special Education. Continuing her academic pursuits, she later obtained a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a Master of Education in Counselor Education.

PACE Scholarship Academy shared Melinda Mihlbauer’s death news,

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Melinda Baker-Mihlbauer. She peacefully transitioned from this life on September 16, 2023. Melinda, also referred to by her students as “Mrs. M,” was a beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and guidance counselor. As many of you know, she was a selfless member of her community and surrounding areas, encouraging students across the United States to strive for higher education. As a lifelong resident of Sumter, SC, her greatest passion involved impacting students across South Carolina to believe that full rides are possible!Many have been impacted by her life, and we know that the news of her passing is unexpected and most certainly devastating. We are grateful for the love and support that has and will continue to surround us through such a difficult time. We ask that you respect the privacy of the entire Mihlbauer and Baker family. More details on the service will be provided at a later date.If you would like to offer condolences or share your memories of Melinda (Mrs. M), please feel free to do so in the comments below.”

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Fondly known as “Mrs. M” by her students, Melinda was a beacon of support and guidance. As a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, she contributed selflessly to her community. Throughout her life as a Sumter resident, her passion lay in empowering students across the state, instilling in them the belief that higher education and scholarships were within reach.

She is survived by her beloved husband, Brooks A.J. Mihlbauer, and four children, Chanelle Denise Baker, Alyssa Jordyn Mihlbauer, Addyson Janaye Mihlbauer, and Arik Jace Mihlbauer. Her memory is also cherished by her parents, Carl and Gloria Baker, and her siblings, Carl Baker Jr. (Pete), Melanie Baker, and Sean Baker.

The public viewing to pay respects to Melinda will be held on Friday, September 22, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Job’s Mortuary. Funeral services will take place at noon on Saturday, September 23, at Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church, 609 Manning Ave., Sumter, followed by interment at Hillside Memorial Park, Sumter.

The Mihlbauer family will receive guests at their home, located at 3789 Moseley Drive, Sumter, between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. during this challenging time.

Arrangements are being handled with care by Job’s Mortuary Inc., 312 S. Main St. Sumter, honoring the life of a remarkable educator and community advocate, Melinda Baker Mihlbauer.

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