Melba Fay Beattie

Melba Fay Beattie (Thornton)
December 24, 1935 – January 10, 2024

On Wednesday, January 10, 2024, Melba Fay Beattie, a loving wife, mother and grandmother passed away peacefully after a battle from a medical condition at Beaumont Hospital, Troy. Melba was born December 24, 1935, and had recently celebrated her 88th birthday on Christmas Eve. She was the youngest of ten kids and born on their family farm in Cullman, Alabama to parents Annie “Dera” (Brannan) and Henry Grady Thornton, both from Georgia. Melba called Michigan her home for over 60+ years, after joining her siblings who relocated to Michigan for work outside the farm.

Left to cherish Melba’s memory are her son, R. Steve, daughters Debra (Randy) and Linda (David), grandsons Damion, Justin, and Michael, her only granddaughter Kayla, and Jessica and Chelsea. Melba is preceded in death by her late husband, George, and her cherished youngest son Michael David and daughter-in-law Susan. Melba is also preceded in death by her parents, all her siblings, Valena, William (Bill), Bryant, Grady, Alvin, Vora, Arthur, Gwendolean, and Earnest, and David Albert, her first late husband, and father to her children, and many nieces and nephews.

Melba was a strong, kind, selfless women who often placed the needs of others above her own. She was a beautiful person inside and out and very bright A student at Cullman High and a tidbit of news just discovered, she was voted the prettiest in her senior class. Melba was a woman of faith with an accomplished voice and often sang in church and at times with her brother Earnest at local events. When her kids were young she worked part-time in their schools providing office support and was where she had met George, the local mailman. During the kids middle school years she started a career as an insurance specialist and income tax preparer, having an affinity for numbers. In her later years she worked for 20+ years as a seamstress. Sewing was a skill she learned from her mom on a vintage pedal Singer sewing machine, achieving perfection making her own school clothes and later dresses for her daughters and entire suits and pajamas for her sons.

A favorite hobby Melba loved was working in her flower garden and watching and taking pictures of her plants flourishing. Each spring she couldn’t wait to get outside to clear out the old, making way for new buds popping above the surface. She often arranged many pictures of her family to proudly display. Melba was very active her entire life and enjoyed getting outside. She was out for a walk by 5:30am with her son, Steve, and did this until well into her 87th year. Melba was an avid reader, often devouring mystery novels in one day. She liked relaxing and rocking in “her” chair, and really enjoyed her morning cup of coffee.

Melba’s greatest joy in life was spending time with her kids, her grand-kids, and her beloved husband George. She loved visiting with her kids in Michigan and Alabama, and when still traveling, visiting them in Colorado. One of Melba and George’s favorite pastimes was going for long car rides and to Port Austin their favorite destination, especially in early fall. They would pack up the car and take their time to stop and see the sights along the way, enjoying the ride as much as the destination.

“A mother holds her children’s hands for a while, their hearts forever.” -Anonymous

Gramer Funeral Home is presiding over the immediate arrangements with a memorial service planned for later in the springtime. Melba’s final resting place will be next to her dearly loved George, a proud Marine and Paratrooper Veteran, at Great Lakes National Cemetery, 4200 Belford Rd, Holly, MI 48442.

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