Melba Mae “Marguerite Irene” Bauman Jackson passed away in Boise, Idaho, on August 1, 2018, surrounded by her family.
She is survived by her husband of 72 years, George Calvin “Kelly” Jackson; children, Kelly Leroy Jackson (Carol), Kristie Rue (John), Gregory Jackson, and Aaron Scott Jackson; grandchildren, Chad Rue (Jennifer), Kelli Boren (Ted), Jeremy Rue (Jill), Kelly “KJ” Jackson (Molly), Tanya Smith (Darrell), Erin Jackson, Jennifer Boisvert (Chris), Scott Jackson, and Ellie Jackson; and 19 great grandchildren.
Melba was born in Dupree, South Dakota, January 15, 1928 to Ora Reath Bauman and Eva Mae Jones Bauman. Melba’s brother, Frank Clinton, had been born in 1908; her parents then waited 20 years for Melba, their beautiful baby girl. Just 21 months later, Roy Wiett joined the family. Melba and Roy were best friends and enjoyed the games children play. Melba’s memories of those years in South Dakota were of a happy, seemingly idyllic childhood (think “Little House on the Prairie”).
Melba’s Grandma and Grandpa Jones lived near Melba’s family, along with many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She attended a one-room schoolhouse, staying with her teacher during the week. Her father transported her in their wagon, delivering her on Sunday evening (after the weekly bath) and back home for the weekend. Melba would sometimes invite her teacher to spend the weekend with the family, surprising her mother with a weekend guest.
The Bauman family lived near a Sioux Indian reservation. Members of the tribe would sometimes come to Melba’s family for food, and they shared all they could. The Indians responded in kind when Melba was returning home late one afternoon, having run an errand for her mother. Her pony was slow, and dusk was approaching. The Indians were concerned that she arrive home before dark, so they fashioned her a quirt and sent her on her way.
The Dust Bowl years arrived, and the family decided to move West. The extended family caravanned by day, camped by night, and eventually arrived in the Magic Valley, where Ora and Eva decided to remain. They set up a tent near the Snake River Canyon and called it home. They lived in their tent for a year, then they moved to an apartment, and finally into a small home. Other family members went on to settle in California and Washington.
Melba was an excellent student with a photographic memory. It was expected that she and Roy would be academically behind the students in the Magic Valley, but Melba soon proved them wrong and was advanced to the next grade level. She loved history and music, learning to play the piano. She was also an excellent athlete and especially loved basketball and track.
Melba graduated from high school a year ahead of her class, then went to Albion College to study voice. Her vocal coach said that Melba had the best untrained voice he had ever heard. However, Melba’s mother Eva suffered a stroke that same autumn and was bedridden. Melba left school and cared for her mother until she passed away.
Melba began dating Kelly Jackson and they were married May 1, 1946. Later they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. They were blessed with four children.
Melba and Kelly worked as a strong team throughout their 72 years of marriage, supporting one another in their various endeavors. Along the way they made many sacrifices for their family. Melba was a wonderfully devoted mom. She cheered louder than most fans, praised every accomplishment and loved unconditionally. She attended sporting events of every kind, recitals, speeches and fairs. Melba was a talented seamstress and excellent cook. Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa Jackson’s home was legendary. Melba’s family looked forward to her pumpkin pie all year!
Children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren filled Melba with joy! She loved their visits. She was delighted as they developed and shared their many talents with her.
Melba was an inspiration; so courageous, so generous, so accepting. She saw the best in each of us. We tried harder, reached higher in an effort to be the people she believed us to be.
While raising their children, Melba took courses in business and accounting to improve herself and satisfy her desire to make a contribution. She could take shorthand like a whiz, was a lightning fast typist, and mastered the nuances of advanced accounting concepts.
Melba began applying these new skills by working in the Jerome County Clerk’s office as Deputy Auditor. After leaving the Clerk’s office, she worked as an accountant for several local businesses before joining Tom Mahan’s CPA firm as a senior accountant. After Mr. Mahan retired, Melba continued to work as a public accountant with a host of large and small business clients. She was recognized for the quality of her work and her absolute loyalty to her clients. If a client was struggling, Melba paid their other bills but took nothing for herself.
Melba also served as Secretary to the Jerome Highway District, retiring in 2002. It should be noted that both Melba and Kelly received plaques for 35 years of service. Kelly supported her 100%, never missing a meeting that she attended.
In 1982, Melba undertook the office management and accounting for her son’s new company, Scott Jackson Trucking. Although already loaded with other work, she devoted herself to helping the business succeed as only a mother could, often working seven days a week. As the company grew, Melba reduced her other work to concentrate on the trucking business. The company’s clients grew to love and respect this unbelievably accomplished businesswoman. Whatever success the company has had is due to her efforts.
During these years, she joined a bowling league, which became a favorite avenue of release and source of camaraderie. Her team bowled locally and competed in tournaments as far away as Las Vegas. As in everything else, she excelled in her sport, and yes, she was known to bowl a 200-point game!
Melba loved the beauty found in nature. Working outdoors in the garden rejuvenated her. She delighted in the blossoms, the colors, and the harvest.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Melba served in many musical callings, conducting music for the Primary children as well as for ward and stake choirs. Her vocal solos graced many weddings and funerals.
Melba and Kelly left their Jerome home in 2010 and took up residence with their daughter, Kristie, and her husband, John. A special bond between mother and daughter grew even stronger. Together they did the things Melba most loved to do as long as Melba was able. Melba’s son, Greg, who lived close by provided much loving support as well. When it was necessary to seek professional care, Melba’s family turned to Morning Star Memory Care.
As Melba’s family, we want to extend a special thanks to the staff at Morning Star Memory Care for their devoted care for our beloved mother the past six months. You fell in love with her angelic demeanor. You treated our mother as you would your own and adopted us into the Morning Star family as we took this final journey together.
We love you, Mother.
Private family services were held Wednesday, August 8, 2018. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Association may be made in Melba’s name at: act.alz.org/donate.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Melba’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.