LAFAYETTE – It is with great sadness that the family of Melba Martin, 87, announce her passing on Wednesday, March 9, in Lafayette.
A celebration of Melba’s life will be held on Sunday, April 3, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in the Camelia House, 708 Jefferson Blvd, in Lafayette. Visitation will begin at 2:00 pm followed by a memorial service at 3:00 pm.
Melba will be lovingly remembered by her two daughters, Claire Elise (Martin) English, wife of Douglas Frank English of Vancleave, MS, and Camille Martin of Toronto, Canada; two grandchildren, Lael Lucien English and Sadie Grace (English) Medina and her husband, Jorge Armando Medina-Ortiz of New Orleans; and five great-grandchildren: Ean Taylor Lundy, Siobaun Elizabeth English, Logan Stuart English, Lucien Ezequiel Medina-English, and Jorge Armando Medina-English, as well as her extended family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Lucien Thomas Martin of Lafayette; her parents, Charles Lewis Brown and Luella Mae Holland; and a sister, Carita Ellen Brown, of Hayes, LA.
Melba graduated from Bell City High School in Bell City, LA, in 1946. She received her love of music from her grandmother, Sadie Davis Holland, and learned to play on the piano everything from boogie-woogie to Beethoven. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1950 and was employed as a teacher in Iberville and Calcasieu Parish schools from 1950 to 1953.
She married in 1953, in Belle Fourche, SD, while Lucien was employed by Atlantic Refining Company. In 1958, they moved to Lafayette permanently where, in 1969, Melba became a member of Lafayette’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Melba taught private piano lessons to many children in the Lafayette area. She was a member of the Lafayette Piano Teachers Association, serving as president in 1965 and 1966, and was employed by the Lafayette Parish school system as a music and choral teacher.
After retirement, Melba and Lucien gathered an impressive collection of genealogical documents, photographs, stories, and artifacts from their respective families. Melba authored “The Family of Charles Louis Brown and Lota Elizabeth Sanders” and “Hampton Holland and Sadie Davis, Their Ancestors and Descendants.” She and Lucien co-authored “Remember Us,” a book about the ancestors and descendants of Lucien’s parents, Sidney and Anais Martin. She attended many Life Writing classes at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and wrote a series of memoirs entitled “Back Then.”
She kept physically fit by participating in the Senior Olympics and especially enjoyed competing in their Spelling Bees. She fulfilled her desire to serve others by becoming a tutor with Vita, garnering the Donna Groth Delhomme Memorial Award in 2006 for her commitment to literacy.
Memorial contributions can be made in Melba Martin’s name to either Music and Memory, which spreads the healing power of music to Alzheimer patients (musicandmemory.org), or Cajun Area Agency on Aging, PO Box 60850, Lafayette, LA 70596-0850.