Melba Ash

  • "Was so sorry to learn of Melba's death, she was a wonderful..."
    - Vicki Tomlinson
  • "Melba was a wonderful person. I have such good memories of..."
    - Ellen DeNoon
  • "I'm sure Melba is looking down from heaven with a smile...."
    - Steven Hermesch
  • - Dona Bell
  • "Sorry for your loss. Your Mother was always special to..."
    - T.J. & Myrna Talley

Melba B. Ash Norfolk - Melba Belle Spiker Ash died on December 28, 2013, at Harbor's Edge Retirement Community in Norfolk, Virginia. She was born on September 30, 1918 on a farm near Grenada Township in Nemaha County, Kansas, the daughter of Melvin Howard Spiker and Ida Fuhrer Spiker. Melba was the granddaughter of Kansas pioneers. Her mother's family came to Kansas from Switzerland to homestead and lived in a sod house in Rawlings County, Kansas. In 1941, Melba married her high school sweetheart, Clarence Lafayette Ash. During World War II, the Ash family moved many times due to Clarence's Army training and his duty in the European Theater Operations. Clarence later became a Colonel in the US Army Reserves. Melba and Clarence were married over sixty-seven years. Melba, who was an elementary school teacher for over 40 years, began teaching in a one-room school house in rural Kansas. Studying during her summer breaks, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Education from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, and a Master's degree from the University of Illinois. She taught in elementary schools in Kansas, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and later in Norfolk, Virginia, where Clarence was a Professor of Industrial Arts Education at Norfolk State University. After first retiring to Kansas where they owned a farm, Melba and Clarence moved to Atlantic Shores Retirement Community in Virginia Beach in 2002. In her retirement years, Melba was an avid volunteer in several elementary schools including Ocean Lakes Elementary in Virginia Beach. She was recognized as a PTA Volunteer of the Year for the Tidewater area in 2005, while in her late 80's. Melba will be remembered as a loving mother and grandmother and, wherever she lived, as an expert cookie baker who loved sharing her cookies with friends and acquaintances. Predeceased by husband Clarence, infant son David Lee Ash, and 4 siblings, Melba is survived by two sons, Robert Lafayette Ash and his wife Mary Lewis Webb Ash of Norfolk, Virginia, and Paul Loring Ash and his wife Sandra Shook Ash of Birmingham, Alabama. She was especially proud of her grandchildren, Susan Dickson Ash, Catherine Peyton Ash Kitchin and husband Cameron all of Memphis, Tennessee, and Adrian Loring Ash Hughes and husband Mark of Birmingham. Melba is also survived by five great grandchildren, Robert Lafayette Kitchin, Lewis Yates Kitchin, and Margaret Mary (Maisie) Kitchin, Mary Ashton Hughes and William Marcus Hughes. The family wishes to thank the wonderful Assisted Living staff at Harbor's Edge, the employees of SeniorCorp, and the Freda M. Gordon Hospice of Tidewater for their many kindnesses. A memorial service and interment will take place at a later date in Wetmore, Kansas. The Cremation Society of Virginia is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests any memorials be sent to the Wetmore Elementary School or to the Wetmore United Methodist Church, where Melba was a longtime member, both at Wetmore, KS 66550. Melba Belle Spiker Ash

Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Dec. 31, 2013
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