Obituary of Melba June Elmer
On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, Melba (Narsted) Elmer passed peacefully at Tidewell Hospice at Village on the Isle in Venice, Fl.
Melba was born on June 21, 1921, to Henry and Margaret (Jenkins) Narsted in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Melba was the third of four children born to her mother and father. Melba had two sisters and one brother. When Melba was a toddler, her father worked in Flint, Michigan, where she was raised for the rest of her youthful life. While working as an usherette at the Capitol Movie Theater, Melba met her future husband Albert (Al) Elmer. In 1941 Melba and Al were married in Reno, NV. Melba flew for the first time in her life from Michigan to San Francisco, California so she could marry the love of her life. Melba had to travel to San Francisco because her sweetheart was based at the army base The Presidio. Upon her landing, Melba and Al hopped on a bus and headed straight to Reno. After a very short weekend honeymoon in San Francisco, Melba flew home to her new job at the DuPont Company in Flint, where she worked as a comptometer/secretary. Melba worked for DuPont until Al graduated from officer school at Fort Benning, Georgia. After that Melba, being a devoted wife, followed Al to Alabama’s Fort Rucker and North Carolina’s Camp Butner. After Al’s men were fully trained at Camp Butner they were sent to the European front where he fought until he was wounded for the third time. The final time Al was seriously wounded and was sent home as a 1st Lieutenant.
While Al was overseas, Melba moved back to Flint to live with her parents and to her job and DuPont. After Al was released from the Army in 1945, he still had some recovery to do from his injuries. Melba lovingly helped get Al back to his health.
Once Al’s health was better, he and Melba together started an architectural and building business called Colonial Homes in Flint. Melba was the secretary/bookkeeper and Al was the architect/builder of the company. They started by building a house and moving into it while Al and his crew built another house. They would then sell the first house, move into the second, and start another with the proceeds from the previous house. This pattern went on until they could afford to build a home of their own.
Once Melba and Al had a house of their own, they started to think about a family. After trying for months Melba realized she could not carry a baby to full term. Together Melba and Al decided to adopt a child, which they did in November of 1952. A daughter they named Cathy fulfilled their wishes for a family. Now that Melba was the mother she always wanted to be, she retired from her job at Colonial Homes to become a full-time mom.
Melba and Al were very successful in their businesses adding a restaurant and small lumber yard to the businesses they owned. However, Al was working long hard hours at his business and the wounds Al received during WWII were causing him trouble. His doctor suggested that he move to a warmer climate to help his health. After discussing a move to Florida with Melba they packed up and moved to Hollywood, Florida.
Once in Florida Al’s health quickly improved. Now that they were living in the beautiful climate of Florida, both Melba and Al took up the game of tennis and both became class “A” tennis players. Melba joined a women’s tennis league at the tennis club that they had joined in Hollywood.
Melba also devoted much of her time to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church where she and Al were charter members. Melba helped organize women’s circles, helped with all the Wednesday night potluck dinners, and even helped run the youth groups till the church could find a youth pastor.
Hollywood was getting very crowded, and Melba and Al longed for a small town again so, after their daughter graduated high school the family moved to Coral Springs, Florida. Again, they lived the causal life of tennis and doing church work. Melba and Al found that Coral Springs was growing too fast so in 1980 they moved to Venice, Florida. They built a single-family home near Melba’s sister Ruby, who had moved over to Venice a couple of years before. Melba and Al didn’t care for all the work a single-family home entailed after a few years. So, they moved to the Villas in Chestnut Creek in 1985. There they met many wonderful neighbors and friends.
Melba and Al were also active members at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Venice, Florida.
While living at the Villas Melba was an active member of the water aerobics class and the shuffleboard team. They were active in all the social activities that the villas offered. They loved their life together at the villas until 2008 when the love of her life Al passed away.
Melba continued to live at the Villas of Chestnut Creek along with her daughter who moved in during 2015 to help with her mom and make sure she could continue living at the home she loved. Melba celebrated on June 21, 2023, her 102nd birthday with a big surprise party with many friends and neighbors. She was the consummate lady until the very end of her life.
Melba was preceded in death by her father Henry from Flint, Michigan in 1953 and her mother Margaret (Jenkins) Narsted who passed in 1976 in Coral Springs, Florida; her brother Norman L. Narsted, from Millington, Michigan who died in France during WWII in 1943; her sister Shirley Ann (Narsted) Skellenger from Waterford, Michigan who passed in 1975; and her sister Ruby Ellen (Narsted) Cross who passed in Tampa, Florida in 2004.
Melba is survived by her daughter Cathy (Elmer) Peterson of Venice, Florida; her granddaughter Jill (Peterson) Victorine, Jill’s husband John, her two great-granddaughters Violet Sofia and Ellie Harper Victorine of Chicago, Illinois; a niece Gail Rennie-Kelley-Sanders-Goldner (Cross) of Zephyerhills, Florida; nephews Christopher Skellenger of Honor, Michigan and David England of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and cousin-in-law Jacqueline (Elmer) Macey of Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Special thanks to all the doctors, nurses, and other staff at Tidewell Hospice for the wonderful job they did making the final days of Melba’s life so peaceful.
Donations can be made in memory of Melba Elmer to:
Tidewell Hospice at www.tidewell.com
Trinity Presbyterian Church
4365 State Road 776
Venice, FL 34293
Graveside services will be held at a later date at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Melba Elmer, please visit Tribute Store