Melba Jean (Walton) Harker, 89, of Shoals, died in the presence of family Monday at 5:55 p.m. at The Timbers of Jasper in Jasper.
She was born on June 9, 1927, to the late Claude and Mary (Kutch) Walton at their home in Perry Township, Martin County.
Melba attended Robison School, where Lee Haines was her teacher for all eight years. She then graduated from Shoals High School in 1945. Immediately after graduation, she went to work in Building 64 at NAD Crane to help with the war effort. Melba later went to work for an insurance company in Indianapolis. On Aug. 1, 1949, she married Bernard Harker and became a full-time farm wife and mother. They were married 65 years and raised six children before he passed away last year.
She was a partner with her husband, Bernard, on their farm in Center Township of Martin County, where they grew corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, rye and hay. They also raised cattle, hogs and chickens. Melba played a huge role in the care of the cattle and chickens. One of her rewards was being recognized by Martin County Farm Bureau as Farm Wife of the Year.
Melba accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and was baptized in Boggs Creek as a youngster and then from her marriage until her death was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Loogootee.
In addition to spending time with her family, Melba enjoyed tending to her flowers (especially African violets and roses), collecting antiques (depression glassware was a favorite), shopping and traveling.
Survivors include her six children, Mike Harker and wife Kathy of Shoals, Debbie Hawkins, Juanita Cox and husband Jim of West Baden, Karl Harker and wife Kathy of Auburn, Alabama, Karla Wyrostek and husband Ed of Flagstaff, Arizona, and Tom Harker and wife Lynette of Shoals; one sister, Olive Pruett and husband Russell of Shoals; one sister-in-law, Glendy Wilmoth of Parma, Ohio; one brother-in-law Roger Allbright of Shoals; 17 grandchildren; three stepgrandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; 11 stepgreat-grandchildren; and two stepgreat-great-grandchildren.
Melba was preceded in death by one brother, Glenn Walton and wife Kathleen; one sister, Mildred Allbright; three brothers-in-law, Dewey Harker and wife Barbara, Herman Harker and wife Ruth, and Robert Wilmoth; three sisters-in-law, Ella Boegeman and husband Albert, Ann Schilling and husband Will, and Alberta Harker; one son-in-law Bill Hawkins; and one stepgrandchild.
Visitation will be held Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Loogootee.
A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Loogootee. Pastor Timothy Fleace will officiate the service. Burial will be in Goodwill Cemetery at Loogootee. After services are complete, lunch will be served by the ladies group in the church basement.
The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to St. John's Lutheran Church, Loogootee, IN 47553.
Condolences may be made online at www.blakefuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements were provided by Blake Funeral Home in Loogootee.
Published on August 23, 2016