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Melba McConnaughey

1932 - 2016
Melba McConnaughey Obituary
Melba Jean Taylor McConnaughey 1932 - 2016 From as early an age as she could remember, Melba Jean McConnaughey wanted to be a classroom teacher. And although she retired after nearly 40 years as a high school teacher of English in Arkansas, Texas and Washington, she continued to be an educator, counselor and friend to everyone she met. She has really touched the future. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at the side of her husband, lover, best friend and life partner - Don McConnaughey. She was born in Mount Ida, Arkansas on September 12, 1932 to the Reverend E.W. Taylor and his wife - Dezzie Eurcel Montgomery. She was the oldest child and began managing her family's household with the help of her mom. There was never any doubt she was in charge. It was that spirit to be a dynamic influence in the lives of thousands of teenaged students, that drove her to successfully mentor kids in how to read, speak, write and demonstrate critical thinking, civility and with fairness for all. She was famous for challenging intellectual students to not go along with the crowd and by becoming a non-conformist. Melba was raised as her Baptist preacher father moved to shepherd church congregations around the state of Arkansas. She graduated from Arkansas State Teacher's College in Conway, but not before marrying the handsome football hero Don. His National Guard Artillery unit was deployed to combat in Korea in 1950, putting his education and athletics on hold until he was able to return home as an Army Master Sergeant. Despite exhortation by his commanding officer to transfer and play football at the US Military Academy, the combat veteran returned to ASTC/UCA where he was promoted in rank as Co-Captain of the football team, and Melba was a Homecoming Queen, a Drum Majorette and member of the marching band. They graduated together from ASTC (now known as the University of Central Arkansas) in 1955 and both immediately were hired midyear to their first jobs in Norphlet, Arkansas. The next year they were hired by the Amarillo Texas. school district - she teaching English at Tascosa High School, and Don as a biology teacher, Assistant Football coach under Bum Phillips, and as head Track and Field coach. They both attended West Texas State University and earned Master's Degrees, but in 1961 they were recruited by the Highline School District at Highline High School. Melba serving as English Department Chairman, as well as Cheerleader and Pep Club Advisor. Don later moved on to Highline Community College, where he taught and coached before becoming Athletic Director. Melba retired from Highline in 1993. Don and Melba were great partners together designing and building four dream homes - one at Redondo, Washington, another on the beach at Vashon Island and her final glory was a lakeside villa gloried by extensive lakeside gardens in Ocean Shores, Washington. Until her passing Don and Melba maintained a close community of other retired professionals in Ocean Shores. She was an active member and Deaconess and teacher at Faith Community Church in Ocean Shores. Melba was a master gardener and an accomplished avid photographer. Melba loved her family, who survive her - Doug (Suzanne), Tom (Sheri) and Tim, as well as a long retinue of loving canine pals. One idea of the hereafter, she said was being greeted in heaven by all of the dogs that had been a part of her life. But demonstrably greater love by Melba were for her four grandchildren who survive her: Donny McConnaughey, Everett Taylor McConnaughey, Neva Marie McConnaughey and Monica Meek (Will). She was their greatest cheerleader, and despite the all-knowing eye of a classroom teacher, she knew how to set and follow educational and professional goals with a huge dose of deep love and devotion. When one set of grandkids were present, she bragged about the other set of grandkids, and then when they were present she would brag about the others. She loved them all deeply and she is loved in return! Melba was preceded in death by her parents and sister Jeannine. She is survived by her husband Don; her sister Berniece Trimble of Amarillo, Texas; brothers Bill Taylor (Carol) of Beaumont, Texas and brother Jim Taylor (Lynnette) of Palm Springs, California and niece Mary Ellen Butler (Gene) and nephew Paul McConnaughey (Elizabeth) of Ventura, California. Visitation will be from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, and Thursday, December 22, 2016, at the Coleman Mortuary, 422 5th Street in Hoquiam, Washington. Funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm, Friday, December 23, 2016, at the Faith Community Church in Ocean Shores with Pastor John Matson officiating. Burial will be at Washington Memorial Park at SeaTac. There will be a Celebration of Life in Ocean Shores in January, 2017. Friends, former students and colleagues are cordially invited to attend all activities. Please take a moment to record your thoughts by signing the on-line register at www.colemanmortuary.net.
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Dec. 20, 2016
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