Services set for longtime Bellaire resident, HISD financial chief Melinda Garrett

By Charlotte Aguilar

Funeral services have been set for longtime Bellaire resident and former Houston ISD financial chief Melinda Garrett, who died Saturday at the age of 65.

Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday (Oct. 6) and services at 11 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 7), both at Earthman Bellaire Funeral Home, 4525 Bissonnet St.

Garrett’s friends, former colleagues and fellow Bellaire HS alumni continue to honor her with tributes and sadness at her loss.

“While she was one of the top finance officers in the country, she was an even better person,” former HISD Superintendent Terry Grier told Instant News. “A professional’s professional, she always kept children first. She loved Houston ISD, Bellaire High School, and her family. Everyone who knew her admired and loved her. We stayed in touch, and I am saddened by her passing.”

Melinda Garrett, HISD student, Bellaire HS alumna, longtime district financial leader. 

“Melinda Garrett was what we hope people who work for us in government are but alas too often aren’t,” wrote former District V Trustee Dianne Johnson. “Melinda was smart as can be. Kids were always first with her. She was amazingly creative on win/win solutions even when the going got tough. I’m so fortunate to have been on the board when Melinda was CFO.”

Trustee Anna Eastman, who represents the Heights and north side area of HISD, echoed both Johnson’s feelings of gratitude for having served when Garrett was in charge of HISD finances and current District V Trustee Mike Lunceford’s remarks Saturday about what he had learned from Garrett.

“I learned most of what I know about school finance and HISD’s now dying innovation of child-based funding, from her,” wrote Eastman. “She could break down school finance and the HISD budget in a way that made it possible for non-accountants to understand easily.”

“Melinda was a relentless and dedicated advocate for children, both in her job and her personal life,” wrote parent advocate Judy Long. “I was so fortunate to call her a friend. She will be missed by many.”

Garrett, a product of HISD’s Braeburn Elementary and Jane Long Middle School andmember of the Bellaire HS Class of 1970 — as Melinda Hyer — went on to become a kindergarten teacher in HISD after earning her bachelor’s degree, and spent time as a certified public accountant auditing government and institutional accounts for a major firm after earning a master’s degree.

She returned to HISD as controller in 1985, and served as chief financial officers from 2001-2012, when she retired.

You can read more about Garrett here and see a video tribute produced upon her retirement here.