We celebrate the life of Melba Rose Schultheis as she is reunited with her husband and partner of forty-four years, Hilary Francis Schultheis.
Born on October 14, 1921, the third of eight children of George and Catherine Rexing,
Melba became a master gardener at a young age. Her love for living plants and flowers grew while assisting her parents in the family flower and gardening business.
Melba's husband Hilary once expressed his desire to have twelve children, and indeed Melba and Hilary are survived by their twelve children and their spouses: Charlene (Jim) Braker, Nadine (Tom) Grant, Jenal (Jim) Vessels, Terry (Bonnie) Schultheis, Melba (Fred) Pohl, Laurel (Carroll) Wheatley, Sandra (Paul) Bender, Hilary (Joni) Schultheis, Johnny (Celeste) Schultheis, Vickie (Rob) Shaffer, Colleen (Gary) Nolen and David (Nancy) Schultheis. Cheaper by the dozen! Twenty-six grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren also survive.
For 25 years Melba and Hilary owned and operated a unique Fort Branch floral and greenhouse business. Melba's artistic ability was demonstrated with thousands of corsages and floral arrangements where her creativity with design and color thrived. Since the business flourished due to Melba's green thumb and the focused partnership of Melba and Hilary, educational opportunities became available to all their children.
Forming a truly equal personal and business partnership, Melba and Hilary complemented each other with hard work, grace, humility and a determination to make the best possible world for their children. Demonstrating her love for her family, Melba single-handedly prepared holiday meals for as many as 65, and the best pies one could ever have, until the age of 83, when she retired to Holiday Retirement Village. Even then, she continued to bake the world's best chocolate chip cookies and cook numerous jars of strawberry jelly for all who visited.
A near-death experience with pneumonia at a young age, at which time she received the last rites, prepared Melba (called Melbie by her siblings and close friends) for a life of devotion to God. Having moved to Fort Branch in 1960, she was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church. She once revealed that she had personally seen and spoken to Jesus, so she was always willing to accept what God put on her plate. At Holy Cross she was a Eucharistic minister and volunteered to wash and iron the linens for the church. She led the rosary regularly. Always wishing to serve God with her thoughtfulness and love for everyone, Melba volunteered at Owensville Nursing Home, giving treats and creating corsages for the residents.
After the death of her husband, Melba demonstrated her determination and ability to make difficult decisions, happily living in her home -- with a huge garden, of course. Truly the salt of the earth, she grew and harvested fruits and vegetables for friends and family. Years later, recognizing the time was right to seek a retirement community, she willingly chose a loving community, Holiday Village.
Melba was a recipient of the prestigious Holy Cross Brute Award. She was also the Grand Marshall of the Ft. Branch Heritage Days Parade.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Holiday Retirement Village for their many years of love and care. We also wish to thank River Pointe Health Campus and the doctors, nurses and staff of St. Mary's Hospital, and finally we wish to thank the VNA Charlier Hospice Center for their love and compassion given to us during this difficult time..
A mass of Christian burial will be conducted on Mon. May 19, 2014, at 11:00 AM at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Fort Branch, IN, Fathers Tony Ernst, Paul Fergusen, Brian Emmick, and Bernard Lutz will be the co-celebrants. Visitation will be on Sun. May 18, 2014 from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM at the Stodghill Funeral Home located on Hwy. 168 West in Fort Branch, IN, and again from 9:30 AM until service time at the church.