Melba June Bennett
MELBA JUNE (EGBERT) BENNETT
March 5, 1930 – December 16, 2021
Our dear mother, aunt, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, Melba June “Tobi” (Egbert) Bennett passed away peacefully on December 16, 2021.
Melba was born on March 5, 1930, in Salt Lake City Utah, to Heber Charles Egbert and Ruth Christine (Ernstrom) Egbert. Melba had a great love for Utah and its great natural beauty. She loved the mountains and loved to horseback ride. Melba maintained this deep love for Utah and for her many wonderful family members and friends there and visited often when she could.
Remarkably gifted in scholastics and in singing, Melba graduated at an extremely early age with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music and Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. She had an opera singing career and performed regularly with the Utah Symphony and legendary conductor Maurice Abravanel. She also lived in Hollywood for a time, where she was friends with Hollywood legends Rita Moreno and Harve Presnell, among others. There was no shortage of interesting stories from this time in Melba’s colorful life.
Melba married her eternal sweetheart, Stanley Evan Bennett, in 1967. Together they lived in the Phoenix area until Stan’s death in 1995.
Melba taught voice and piano professionally at the college level and to individual students. Stan was also a talented musician and music teacher and together they created Southwest Music Studios. Music always played a huge role in their family and in their home.
At the advice of her entrepreneur father, Melba also received a master’s degree in Business. In addition to teaching music, she also taught business classes and typing at the high school level.
In 1980, at the very dawn of the global personal computing revolution, brand-new Deer Valley High School hired Melba to teach Introduction to Computers. There was one significant problem – Melba had never owned, seen, touched, or used a personal computer! Applying for such a position, much less accepting it, simply had to be terrifying! Melba was willing to take on this new challenge and adventure also, with characteristic optimism and energy. She enjoyed a long and successful teaching career at Deer Valley.
Melba even wrote and published an instructional book for computer beginners, entitled, “First Nibbles of the Apple Computer.” This featured a cartoon worm named “Nibbles” that walked the timid new computer user through the basics. She wrote the textbook she wished she had. But it was not easy. There was a period where teaching was Melba’s full-time day job and writing her full-time night job. Again, what an interesting and colorful experience in a wonderful and colorful life!
After Stan’s unexpected death in 1995, Melba made her home in her adopted (and beloved) new city of Las Vegas, to live closer to family. What a blessing those years have been for all of us who loved her.
Melba loved the Lord and bore testimony of Jesus Christ at every opportunity. Fittingly, her last words to her family centered on the Savior and closed in His name. She truly was “not ashamed.” (See Romans 1:16).
Melba also maintained the calling for 15 years of singing “Happy Birthday to You” to fellow congregants on their special day. Barely able to speak herself in her final days, Melba was sorely disappointed when she could not continue her duty. She fought the good fight and finished the race. (See 2 Tim. 4:7).
Melba missed Stan terribly for their 27-year temporary separation and mentioned this often as well.
One of the great comforts we enjoy, is knowing Melba is finally free of pain, is finally with the Lord, and is finally with her beloved Stan.
One point of deep pride for Melba in her later years was that she wanted to “cram for her finals” and “graduate” solely on her own fiercely independent terms. She never wanted to live in a nursing home, or ever again visit a hospital. She wanted to maintain her own home. Against significant odds–considering her 91 years–she did it! She also took immense pride in maintaining, through the end, “my own eyes, my own ears, my own teeth, and my own mind.” Though there was pain in every step, she kept walking through her very last week of life (and to our chagrin—as we have just recently learned–had donated her wheelchair “to somebody who needs it”). There is a great dignity in all of this.
Melba is survived by her sister Marjorie (George K. Kjar), her sons Dean (Kimberlee) and Orion, and her daughter Lisa (Sandra Chow), grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many cousins, nephews, and nieces. She is preceded in death by her father Heber, her mother Ruth, her sister Marion (Clinton P. Mott), her brother Richard (Marilyn), and her beloved Stan. We picture a great reunion!
We offer our heartfelt, sincere, and insufficient thanks and appreciation to the many caregivers, ward members, fellow saints, neighbors, and friends who have been such a love and support to Melba. We would also offer a special word of appreciation to the angels at Infinity Hospice in Las Vegas.
We will hold a celebration of life on January 15, 2022, at 10:00 o’clock Nevada time, at the Red Rock Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The address is 11050 Alta Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada. Those who wish to participate by video may contact Dean Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the necessary live web link. Melba will be interred with her beloved Stan in Glendale, Arizona. We anticipate a small graveside service at that time. We will announce details later.
In lieu of flowers, we for donations to the Infinity Hospice Care Foundation in Melba’s name, so others may be treated with such profound dignity and respect in their final days. https://infinityhospicecare.com/foundation-2/.
Additionally, we have established a memorial Facebook page for Melba at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021064985106505/about. We ask her friends and family to share their memories and stories.