Cover photo for Melba Palma's Obituary
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1925 Melba 2014

Melba Palma

August 15, 1925 — November 25, 2014

Melba Marie Palma, 89, of Lenox, Iowa, formerly of Creston and Prescott, Iowa, passed away on November 25, 2014 surrounded by her loving family at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
On a sunny day, August 15, 1925 in Stockton, California, a tiny 2 ½ pound baby girl was born to Ruggeiro and Minnie (Krueger) Pelosi. Her name would be Melba Marie. The day would soon turn to gray when Minnie passed away shortly after giving birth. Mourning the death of his wife, Ruggeiro made the difficult decision to ask his wife’s sister and her husband to raise Melba. At the age of 3 ½ weeks, Melba, accompanied by a private nurse, rode the train to Creston. Waiting at the Train Depot with open arms were Emma and Charles Graby and their son, Harry. Melba was so tiny that she was carried on a satin pillow and was wearing the red patent leather shoes her mother had taken to the hospital for her. From that day forward, Emma and Charles were Mom and Daddy.
Melba would often speak of her wonderful life growing up in Creston. Her family was hard working, always willing to help others in need; going so far as to corresponding and sending care packages to German families during World War II. Melba was inspired to learn how to swim when her brother, Harry, threw her into McKinley Lake. According to Melba, it was sink or swim. Another memory was when Melba and her friends filled her mom’s wash tub with water, coating the hill in front of her house with ice. What a sled it was until the police had to close the street because cars were getting stuck. They were told never to do it again! Great times were spent at Rainbow Park, swinging on the swings and splashing in the park’s fountain. Harry also taught Melba how to ice skate at McKinley Park, roller skate and dance.
Melba attended school in Creston and graduated from Creston High School in 1944. During her senior year and after graduating, she was employed at the Creston Telephone Company as a Switchboard Operator.
In September of 1947, Melba was introduced to Charles Palma on a blind date. It was love at first sight and they were married on May 1, 1948 at St. John’s Evangelical Church, where Melba was baptized and was a member. She left the city and became a farmer’s wife. She continued working at the phone company until shortly before the birth of their daughter, Linda Marie. Melba and Chuck were blessed with three more children: Paul Douglas, Judith Mae and David John.
Melba’s second career began in 1989 as a care giver in numerous homes in Creston, Lenox, Corning and Bedford. She took great pride in assisting them in staying in their own homes. Many dear friendships were made through the years with these wonderful people and their families. At the insistence of her children, Melba retired at the age of 85. They felt it was time for her to be able to spend more time with them and they told her she would soon be older than the people she was caring for!
One of Melba’s favorite pastimes was doing embroidery work. Many pillowcases, table cloths and tea towels were given to family and friends. Much thought, time and love were spent in making quilts for each of her children and grandchildren in her later years.
New adventures and trips were always awaiting Melba. She was ready to pack her bags, at a minute’s notice, to vacation with her kids, wintering in Texas with her best friend, Juanita Clark and she loved her mother/daughter weekends. Playing the slots at the casino was always fun and Melba was quite lucky. Melba always made sure she saved her winnings to spend on vacations and shopping for a sparkling piece of new jewelry. After retirement, Melba and Juanita could be found every afternoon at the Tiger Den in Lenox, having coffee and ice cream with their many friends.
Melba was a member of St. John’s Evangelical Church in Creston and a 49 year member of the Prescott Order of the Eastern Star.
Most important of all were her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and the many people she provided care for over the years. A content person, Melba was always there to listen, lend a hand and give a hug. A phone call was never complete until she knew what everyone had been doing that day or week. Family get-togethers were one of her favorite times, when everyone would gather for a good meal and long conversations. She enjoyed sharing her Christmas cookies she baked using her mom’s family recipe and nothing smelled better than the turkey and dressing she cooked.
Those left to cherish her memory are her children: Linda Carmichael (and Larry Antisdel) of Lenox; Paul (Wanda) Palma of Prescott; Judy (Forrest) Cross of Bettendorf and David Palma of Prescott. Melba is also survived by her grandchildren: Jason Cross, Jared Cross, Nicole Carmichael, and Clinton (Tammy) Carmichael; great granddaughters: Kally Carmichael and Chloe Cross; step grandchildren: Benji (Katy) Samo, Luke (Kayla) Samo; step great grandsons: Gage and Liam Samo. Also surviving is Melba’s best friend, Juanita Clark and many other friends. Preceding Melba in death were her parents, brother, many aunts, uncles and her step grandson, Matthew Samo.
The family would like to personally thank everyone who remained in contact with and cared for Melba, especially the staff at Vintage Park. A special “Thank You” to Rev. Tim Maxa for his weekly visits, prayers and comfort he provided.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Melba Palma, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, November 30, 2014

1:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Pearson Family Funeral Service & Cremation Center - Creston

809 West Montgomery Street, Creston, IA 50801

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