Melba Catherine Brown, age 92, of Grand Rapids, formerly of Kalamazoo, passed away November 8, 2023. She was born February 2, 1931 in Mackinaw City, Michigan to the late Lee Clark and Melba Catherine (Shepler) Brown.
Melba was a graduate of J.W. Sexton High School in Lansing and went on to obtain a nursing education at Central Michigan University. She was married to Robert Clair Brown on October 16, 1955 in Lansing. Melba worked for some time at Michigan Bell but eventually became a "farm wife" and mother at Kalamo-Acres Dairy Farm, a farm she and Robert owned with 135 head of cattle. They suffered a devastating loss of their farm home in a fire, but with resilience, they were able to rebuild with continued success. After retirement, she was able to use her education as a caregiver with Upjohn Home Health.
Melba will be remembered most for her gentle nature. She was loving, caring, and nurturing. She was gracious in her parenting, even when her kids may not have earned grace, and was always willing to give a warm hug. She was ever-present with her children, may it be as a 4-H Leader, the president of the PTA, or leading her daughters' Girl Scouts troops. She was a devoted grandparent-any time she could make it, she would be seen at band performances, sporting events, and other activities. She enjoyed sharing her interests-baking, badminton, Mexican Train, and more-with her grandchildren. She was a wonderful baker and well known for her cinnamon rolls. Her family fondly remembers working Mom into hysterical giggles, laughing so hard she cried.
Melba was known to family as an "energizer bunny." She persevered through several illnesses, including breast cancer, and many difficult times. She was a fashionista and an animal whisperer. Melba enjoyed watching Animal Planet and the Travel Channel, often at full volume. She was more than a resident to her Porter Hills and hospice caregivers-she was a friend.
Melba was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert Clair Brown; and brothers, Lee Clark Brown II and William Brown.
She is survived by her children: Fred Brown, Catherine McLaughlin, Margie Brown, and LeAnn (James) Hart; grandchildren: Amy (Matthew) Hammerle, Andrew Hart, Hannah (Jasen) Conrad, Jared (Brittani) McLaughlin, and Samuel McLaughlin; great-grandchildren: Annabelle, Abigail, Abraham, Ryleigh, and Abigail, with another on the way; brother, Robert (Lorna) Brown; sister, Mary Michels; as well as several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held Monday, November 13, 2023 at 11:00am at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial and Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, where family will greet friends one-hour prior from 10-11:00am.
Melba will be laid to rest with her husband, Robert, at Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park North.
Donations in Melba's memory may be made to Emmanuel Hospice or UMRC-Porter Hills Foundation (Benevolent Care Fund West).
To share a memory or leave a condolence for the family visit https://www.langelands.com.