Patricia Jean (Lee) Melby, long-time resident of Cortez, passed away quietly on March 23, 2017, at the age of 88, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's Disease. In the face of her illness, she never lost her sweet smile, her quiet laughter, and her joy in being surrounded by her children, their spouses, and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. |
Pat was born on February 23, 1929 to Nels and Olga Lee in Fargo, North Dakota. She graduated from Fargo High School in 1946 and then attended North Dakota College of Agriculture (now North Dakota State University) for two years as an art major. While riding on a city bus to campus, she met a young architectural student, Clayton Melby, who had recently returned from serving in the Navy during WWII. They were married on September 2, 1948. She and Clayton moved from North Dakota to Berkeley, California so he could finish his college degree at the University of California and then later moved to New Mexico and finally to Cortez in 1957.
Pat was an outstanding wife and mother. She devoted herself to helping Clayton establish a successful Cortez business. She was a utilities clerk with the City of Cortez and also served on the library board for many years. She modeled grace, love, kindness and affection to her six children.
Pat was well known for years of service in the Trinity Lutheran Church of Cortez. In her later years, Pat and Clayton traveled to distant sites to volunteer for Laborers for Christ, a non-profit organization devoted to building Lutheran churches. Together they spent 6 months leading the restoration effort of an old church in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her service was motivated by her deep understanding of God's grace shown to her through Jesus and her desire to share it.
Pat was proceeded in death by her parents, husband Clayton, sister Wanda and brother-in-law Richard Goecke, brother-in-law Wally Solien, brother-in-law Arvid Melby, daughter-in-law, Karine Melby, and her dear friends, Bobbie and Joe Jarvis. She is survived by her sister Gwen Solien of Moorhead, MN; her sister-in-law Helen Melby of Radford, VA; six children-Lisa Wegner (Ralph) of Cortez; Chris Melby (Barb) of Fort Collins; Sara McCabe (Kelly) of Cortez; Peter Melby (Reta) of League City, TX; David Melby of Minneapolis, MN; and Tina Killean (Lou) Scottsdale, AZ. She is also survived by 16 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Pat's bright smile and infectious laugh are sorely missed, but her legacy lives on through the many lives she blessed through her gracious, humble, and caring spirit. She is sorely missed but not forgotten.
The family would like to thank the staff of Vista Mesa and Montezuma Hospice for their loving care. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in honor of Patricia Melby, to Banner Alzheimer's Foundation, 2901 N. Central Ave. Ste 160, Phoenix, AZ 85012
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday April 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cortez.
Services are under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. To send condolences or to view the full obituary, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.
Published in The Journal on Apr. 4, 2017