Melba Lucile Holmgren, 91, passed away on Monday, December 11, 2023, at her home in Plymouth, Indiana with her son and daughter by her side.
She was born at her family’s home on June 17
1932, in Lancaster, Huntington County, Indiana to Roy L. and Prudence L. “Lucile” (Hacker) Rice. On August 10
, 1952, she was united in marriage to Everett C. “Sam” Holmgren in North Manchester, Indiana. They had been happily married for 64 years when he preceded her in death on April 24
Melba graduated from Central High School with the class of 1950 and then earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Ball State University. Melba taught home economics at several schools in South Bend, as well as North Liberty High School, John Glenn High School, and Urey Middle School. Creative in her teaching methods, her classes included among many other things, a mock wedding and an apple pie baking contest. She also incorporated her child development class with the adjoining elementary school’s Head Start program to the benefit of all students involved. She had a great memory and was able to recall students she had taught decades prior, many of whom would thank her for teaching these lifelong skills.
Melba and Sam lived in North Liberty for over 40 years. She was a member of North Liberty United Methodist Church. After their move to Plymouth in 2001, she was an active member of Plymouth Church of the Brethren, where she made additional friends who became a great source of support.
Always thinking of others before herself, Melba was the core of her extended family. She made the effort to stay in touch with the growing family, keeping up on the latest in the lives of her many loved ones. Her importance in the family was evident at her 90th birthday celebration at which most of her family attended.
She demonstrated her love to family and friends in many ways. Preparing meals, baking bread or other treats, she shared her love of cooking with those close to her, as well as her knowledge and skills. She was also talented with many types of handwork, including knitting, sewing and quilting and never left a fabric store empty handed. Over the years, she created numerous gifts that became homemade treasures to her loved ones.
Melba had a lifelong love of learning which she shared with Sam. She was always on the lookout for interesting places to visit and often included others in these experiences. Whether it be a local event she learned about in the paper, an exhibit in Chicago or enjoying the arts, her curiosity led her across the counties and across the world.
Throughout her life, Melba visited most of the states with Sam. During these trips, Melba served as chief navigator– sometimes to Sam’s dismay. Always ready with the Mobile Travel Guide, she found additional places of interest that truly reflected the uniqueness of the area.
Wanting to experience other cultures, Melba and Sam traveled overseas to Russia, China, the Middle East, Greece and many other European countries. She would often remark that, when she was younger, she would never have imagined seeing so much of the world. She felt incredibly fortunate to do so and passed down her love of travel to her children and grandchildren.
Melba had a genuinely positive outlook on life. She showered those around her with love, readily sharing her beautiful smile with family and friends. Even during her last hospitalizations, her smiles, kindness, and positive attitude never wavered. She was truly loved and will be missed by so many.
She is survived by her daughter, Dee (Brad Baber) Carmichael, Plymouth; her son, Mark (Karen) Holmgren, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania; daughter-in-law Beth Holmgren, Houston, Texas; six grandchildren, Scott Carmichael, Ryan Carmichael and Bryce Carmichael, Amy (Chad) Shinsky, Sarah (Bryan) Berry and Shawn Holmgren; three great grandchildren, Owen Shinsky, Addie Berry and Colton Berry; two brothers, Gene (Linda) Rice and Frank (Chris) Wilson. Melba is also survived by three brothers-in-law, John (Cheryl) Holmgren, Paul (Helen Marie) Holmgren and Larry Michael; her sister-in-law, Martha Hoeppner and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to Sam, Melba was preceded in death by her parents; son, Carl Holmgren, who passed away in 2016; infant daughter Lynn Holmgren; brother Ronald R. Rice. sister, Norma Michael and sister-in-law, Di-Anne Rice.
Visitation will be from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, Saturday, January 6, 2024, at Plymouth Church of the Brethren, 1130 N. Michigan Street, Plymouth, Indiana with Pastor Deb Cook officiating. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm Saturday at the church. Burial will be at Oaklawn Cemetery, North Manchester, at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made in Melba’s memory to Plymouth Church of the Brethren, 1130 N. Michigan Street, Plymouth, Indiana 46563 or to Boys and Girls Club of Marshall County, 314 E. Jefferson Street, Plymouth, Indiana 46563.