Melissa Ann (Flint) Cappella, who was raised in Wilton and went on to become a natural learning advocate in Florida, died Aug. 15, 2013, after battling breast cancer for more than two years.

Born in New York City, she was a 1978 graduate of Wilton High School. She called Florida her home in 1999, accepting a job with Best Software (now Sage) in St. Petersburg, where she was most recently a senior solutions analyst.

She became passionate about the natural learning abilities of kids, and founded the Suncoast Natural Learning Center, a nonprofit organization that encourages children to pursue their interests and talents in place of conventionally structured schooling. She organized the first natural learning conference in Florida in 2012, which attracted participants from across the United States.

She is survived by her husband of 19 years, Christopher Cappella, and two sons, Daniel and Ryan, as well as her mother Mary Alice Flint, all of Largo; father George S. Flint and stepmother Emily Flint of New York City; sister Julia Flint of Burbank, Calif.; brothers Anthony Flint of Brookline, Mass. and Alexander Flint of San Francisco, Calif.; and aunt Martha Flint of Mystic, Conn.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation at  http://foundation.flcancer.com/.