Margaret was part of the Greatest Generation. She was born Feb. 17, 1920 to Lois and Jesse Linch near Salem, Alabama. Despite some moving about the state due to her father’s work she grew up in Opelika and planted firm roots, making a true hometown for generations to come. She considered her life “blessed” and she was right. She was an only child that was spoiled by her parents, her grandparents and then her husband. She had no siblings, but she had three very special first cousins who were like sisters to her.
She attended schools in Opelika and attended API (Auburn) until she met her soul mate and husband, John Melson to whom she was married to for 70 years. She followed Melson as he joined the Army and served his country in WWII. After the war and his return, they settled in Opelika to become a fixture of the community. Most of her work experience was in food services for schools, hospitals and church hostess at First Baptist Church. She was a consummate hostess, who loved to cook, serve and otherwise care for her family, friends and community.
After her working years she enjoyed volunteering in her community and church. She played the piano for her Sunday School class for years and helped with the English classes at First Baptist. She was also involved with the Historical Society. Her Tuesday bridge club that began during the war years and met for over 60 years was the center of her social activity until her health kept her from participating.
Margaret was proud of her family in Lee County. She cherished her marriage, her three girls and her family history in Lee County. Sheriff William “Buck” Jones was her grandfather and her father, Jesse Linch, was also Sheriff. She was always proud of her law enforcement heritage so much so that she had her own police scanner.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, John Melson, her daughter, Barbara Lavallet, and son-in-law Phil Lavallet. She is survived by daughter Sally Phillips, husband Jody, and Lela Lofton husband Robert, grandchildren Margaret Lavallet Moore (Lee), Kathryn Lavallet Tortorici (Sam), Dr. Elizabeth Phillips Rogers (Terry), John Melson Phillips, Jesse Lofton, eight great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
She has been an inspirational matriarch in this family and will be greatly missed.
Funeral services were at 2 p.m., Nov. 27, at First Baptist Church, Opelika, burial followed in Rosemere Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
The John and Margaret Melson Memorial Scholarship
Community Foundation of East Alabama
PO Box 165, Opelika, Alabama 36803.