OBITUARY: Melanie Fretwell – June 25, 2014


Melanie Fretwell, 71 of Holmes Beach, Fla., passed away on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from cancer.

She was born in West Germany and was the only member of her family to emigrate to the United States. While living in Manhattan Beach, Calif., she met James H. “Stretch” Fretwell. After she moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico and married Stretch, they raised two sons Bruce and Kirk (now 45 and 44 years old, respectively).

An energetic and social person, Melanie found a great challange in starting a travel agency in Los Alamos. Thanks to her vision, Pajarito Travel offered innovations not seen there before, such as travel trade shows, dual electronic booking systems, and co-locating with a car rental agency. Pajarito Travel’s success with both large business contracts and boutique travel tours led to a second office in Albuquerque.

Always looking for a way to make the ordinary extraordinary, Melanie enjoyed the creativity of travel – from surprising a client by hand-delivering a last-minute travel visa to staging a surprise mariachi band on a pier to greet a returning scuba diving boat in Cozumel.

After her husband’s retirement from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Melanie left the mountains and returned to the beach by moving with Stretch to Anna Maria Island, Fla. Her design aesthetic and gardening skills blossomed in the new tropical environment, where she worked with a local architect to build a retirement home and gardens.

Melanie is survived by her husband James “Stretch” Fretwell of Holmes Beach, Fla., her two sons Bruce Fretwell of Alexandria, Va., and Kirk Fretwell of Carlisle, Mass., and her three grandchildren Alexa, Monika and Karl.

Melanie and James ‘Stretch’ Fretwell with their sons Bruce and Kirk Fretwell. Courtesy photo
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