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Melody Douglas-Tate

October 14, 1944 ~ November 5, 2021 (age 77)


Melody Douglas-Tate, a strong, incredibly intelligent, and independent woman with a remarkable career in advertising, unexpectedly left this world on Friday, November 5, 2021. She will be deeply missed by her family and friends; always remembered for her unconditional love and support.  

Born to Austin and Doris Douglas in Lake Forest, IL, Melody graduated from Lake Forest College with a BA in Sociology, Summa Cum Laude. Following graduation, Melody and her best friend worked as cocktail waitresses over the summer to fund adventures across Europe. Her first job as a research assistant at Leo Burnett Co. springboarded Melody into a trailblazing career in the advertising industry. 

Melody was one of the first and youngest women to earn an executive-level position at Leo Burnett. Gloria Steinem personally congratulated her "on being a first," and Melody proudly displayed Steinem's handwritten letter in her office. 

Over more than 37 years at Leo Burnett, Melody highly contributed to the success of the agency and field of market research. Her insights took planning in new directions, the key to developing many effective campaigns. Carnegie Mellon University awarded her an honorary degree for her work in market research. Following years as Senior Vice President and Managing Planning director, Melody moved into her final role at Burnett, the new position of Intellectual Property Officer, excited to focus on innovative company-wide projects.

She enthusiastically volunteered her expertise and time for causes she cared about, especially Chicago Access Network Television and the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago at St. Scholastica Academy. 

In 1976, she married Raymond S.Tate, with whom has she has two daughters, Cassie and Gretchen. They later separated and divorced. Melody continued to build her career and take care of her children as a working single parent while also finding time for things she enjoyed outside of work.

An accomplished musician and lover of music, Melody was a classically trained pianist,  also quick to grab a guitar and sing her heart out. She eventually purchased a Steinway piano, playing her favorites in the evenings after work. She could be seen picking up her daughter at school on her motorcycle or driving 120 through cornfields in her Mustang convertible. She loved the outdoors - boating, fishing, gardening, tennis, and taking her girls to the beach. Her home was alive with energy, hosting lively bridge nights with friends and holiday traditions with family.

Melody's generous, compassionate spirit touched so many, ready to help people through tough times and work towards their dreams. She would listen and offer her assessment of what might be best - sometimes whether one wanted to hear it or not. 

Melody's life and words encouraged others to pursue their passions;  persevere; fulfill their potential; love learning - education is an endless endeavor; cherish and nurture connections with friends and family with actions, not just words. As in, if you love your sister, send her a birthday card! Melody did not miss a birthday. 

In the words of Leo Burnett, Melody inspired and now challenges us to  “reach for the stars.” Her legacy will live on in her sister, Maureen Douglas; her daughters, Gretchen (Jon Auchter) Tate and Cassandra (Ryan) Worrick; step-daughter Angela (Doug) Jones; grandchildren Cecilia, Kyle, Lucia, Julian, Mirabelle, Henry, Michael, and Lilly; niece, Anne Douglas, and grand-niece, Sage Garcia. She will join her parents, Austin and Doris (Lantz) Douglas; siblings, Marla and Michael; and longtime family friend and godmother to her children, Jadzia Filipowicz.

On Monday, November 29 at 10:30 am, join us for a brief blessing as Melody is laid to rest at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Lake Forest, Illinois. A Celebration of Life will begin promptly at 11:30 am at the Deerpath Inn, and a luncheon will follow.In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Lupus Foundation of America,, in her memory.  


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