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Melba Joy Lee


1935 - 2014 Obituary
Melba Joy Lee Obituary
Melba Joy Lee, 79, of Blackfoot, passed away Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 at her home. She was born Aug. 16, 1935 to J. D. and Willie Mae McCasland, in Westbrook, Texas. Her father was a farmer in Texas, but work was scarce so he relocated his family to Arizona when Melba was five years old. He worked on various farms in Chandler, Queen Creek, Gilbert and Casa Grande. In 1947 they moved to Coolidge where Melba became best friends with Marcene Lee.
In 1952 Melba met Marcene's very handsome older brother Garth. They were married July 24, 1954 in Lords Berg, New Mexico.
Melba and Garth moved between Arizona and Idaho until Garth was hired by American Potato in 1958. They remained in Blackfoot until 1976 when they moved to Moreland.
Melba worked as a housekeeper at State Hospital South from 1974 until 1982. She made many lifelong friends, surviving most of them. She stayed very close with Dorothy Winson, spending hours on the phone with her daily.
In 1955 Garth Wayne was born with Down syndrome. The doctors tried talking her into
institutionalizing him, claiming he would not be able to walk or talk and would only live around 12 years. Melba was a go-getter. After Paula (the youngest) started school, Garth realized something was wrong and told Melba he wanted to go to school too. So
Melba volunteered for the United Way, giving her time and energy in being a huge part in the creation and preservation of human rights for the disabled. His first school was located on the State Hospital grounds. Melba and other mothers volunteered to help Mrs. White in teaching daily life skills. As the needs grew, so did the programs. The early childhood development, along with sheltered workshops.
Terry Holly was a social worker who expanded it into today's Dawn Enterprises. When Garth decided it was time for a girlfriend, Melba found him a few prospects. He met LaRue Scott in 1976, they fell in love and they both wanted a home of their own, like every other couple. So again, Melba went about making their wishes come true.
Garth and LaRue were the first of five people chosen to start the Res. Hab. program in Bannock County. They lived independently from 1980 until 2014 when Garth decided they needed to come home to take care of his mother.
Melba never shut her door on anyone or anything. Her family experienced so many things in their lives, they will always be grateful to their mother for her always present warm smile, advice, beds to sleep in, food to eat for them or anyone else that needed it, including wild or domestic animals that her family brought home. And there were a lot of them.
In 2005, when her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimers, home health was offered to assist them. This is when she met Chantell Anderson, R.N. (called the good daughter). She has been involved with care of both Melba and Garth for almost 10 years. She was more than a nurse to them; she was a friend. The family extends sincere thanks to Chantell. They would also like to thank all the care providers and agencies that worked so hard to make it possible to keep their loved ones at home. Susan Lilya Fullmer, Kathy Hjelm, whose services are outstanding, Melba loved them. Fern, social worker and Daniel, clergy, handyman and all-around great, thank your for all your assistance.
Melba is survived by her children; Judy Houge (Loren Nowinski) of Thomas, Garth Wayne Lee, Brenda Lee and Paula (David) Keller, all of Moreland; grandchildren, Justin Palmer, Camille Houge, Dalton (Randy) Keller, Nikki (Juston) Wadsworth, Shayla (Danford) Borjas and Kylee (Andy) Borjas; great-grandchildren, Tywna, Siann, Trysten, Jayce, Brienna, Zuriel and A.J., coming soon; great-great grandson, Payson; brother, J.D. (Doug) McCasland; sister, Jacque (Travis) Hough; and brother-in-law, Doyle Kay Lee.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Garth; and grandson, Cordell Ostberg.
In accordance with Melba's wishes cremation is under the direction of Hawker Funeral Home and no public services are planned.
Published in The Morning News on Nov. 17, 2014
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