Margaret Belle (Brown) Melton, of Jay, went on to meet her Lord and Savior on the morning of Thursday, June 7, 2018 at the age of 92.
Margaret was born on the family’s Whitewater homestead on Dec. 29, 1925 to parents Clarence and Naomi (Dummitt) Brown.
She was raised on the family farm where she rose early each morning to help with farm chores as well as caring for her four younger siblings. She was a true farm girl, and loved the daily grind of working the 120 acre farm.
She attended the Whitewater schools through the eighth grade and was an active member of the Whitewater Baptist Church along with her parents and siblings.
She transferred to Jay Schools her freshman year, graduating from Jay High School in 1943.
Her high school years were tumultuous as the United States was engaged in World War II.
Margaret knew during her senior year that she would need to find work immediately following graduation, and partook in nightly welding classes to achieve a welding certification.
After graduation, Margaret traveled to California for a short period where she found factory work while staying with her Uncle Earl and Aunt Mary Brown.
She returned to Oklahoma soon after, and relocated to Tulsa where she worked for Douglas Aircraft Co., earning the designation of Rosie the Riveter for belonging to the group of women that took on factory work while the service men were being deployed.
She later returned to her hometown of Jay, and met a handsome gentleman named Charles Q.L. (Lefty) Melton who had recently returned from active duty in the United States Army. They fell in love and married in January of 1947 and remained married for 62 years until Lefty’s passing in 2009.
Margaret’s work experience during World War II fueled her desire to continue her career, realizing the important contributions that women made during the war.
She relied on the work ethic instilled during the farm years, and took a job with Grand River Abstract & Title Co. in the late 1950’s where she worked for $25 per week.
She then moved on to the County Court House working for Sam Fields in the County Clerk’s office. Upon Sam’s retirement, she became the Delaware County Clerk, and remained so until her own retirement in 1992.
Retirement didn’t last long for Margaret though, as she returned to Grand River Abstract where she worked into her late 70’s.
Her love of people and passion for helping others was the driving force that sustained her long and successful career.
She was a pillar in her community, actively serving in various organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, and the Garden Club to name a few.
She was also very politically involved at the county and state levels. Most importantly, she was a dedicated and devoted member of the First Baptist Church of Jay, serving in many roles including teaching Sunday School, the Sunbeam class, and Training Union, as well as being a member of the church choir and serving on various other church committees.
Her passion for her church was evident to all who knew her, as was her passion for her Lord. Her unwavering faith in GOD comforted and sustained her throughout her lifetime, and she worked diligently to pass that faith on to her family, friends, co-workers and even strangers.
She was fiercely devoted to her family and friends, always working to ensure the health and happiness of those for which she cared so deeply.
Margaret was preceded in death by her parents Clarence and Naomi Brown, her brother Robert Brown and sister-in-law Julia Brown, her husband Charles Q.L. (Lefty) Melton and granddaughter Angela Sue Brown.
She will forever be remembered by her surviving family members, brother Lloyd Brown of Jay; brother Donald Brown (wife Carolyn) of Monkey Island; sister Barbara Brown Scott (husband Franklin) of Jay; son Gary Ray Brown (wife Beth) of Decatur, Arkansas; daughter Beverly Jean Jones (husband the late Stan Jones 1943-2008) of Jay; son Charles Wayne Melton of Jay.
Surviving grandchildren include Sherri Brown of Collinsville; Shelly Brown Stout (husband Jimmy) of Jane, Missouri; Lindsey Brown-Schafer (husband J.M.) of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Amie Rudisill (husband Eric) of Gravette, Arkansas; Melissa Higgins (husband Justin) of Lantana, Texas; Laura Dishman (husband Clint) of Bixby; Michelle Moore (husband Greg) of Jay; Susanna Conaway (husband Kyle) of Bixby; and Todd Melton (wife Tammy) of Jay. She is also survived by 22 great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life Funeral Service took place on Monday, June 11, at First Baptist Church, Jay, with Pastor Johnnie Faught and Pastor Paul Simpson officiating. Interment followed at Duffield Cemetery, Jay.
Arrangements are under the direction of Lawson’s Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Jay, Shaunda J. Lawson, 3rd Generation Owner/Funeral Director and Staff.