Melba L. Howenstine, 96, North Manchester, passed away at 5:50 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2020, at Timbercrest Healthcare Center, North Manchester. On July 5, 1924, in Huntington, Melba was born to Northa and Mabel (Kennedy) Zorger. Melba was their only child but she had great times with the many childhood friends and neighbors on Whitelock Street in Huntington.
In 7th grade Melba moved from Huntington to Clear Creek School. It was there she met Alan Howenstine, who also attended the school. Something sparked between them, but it wasn’t until May 21, 1944 that they were married in the Beach Grove Church. The two were wed for sixty-three years before Alan passed away on Feb. 27, 2008.
Melba graduated from Clear Creek High School in Huntington County in 1942. She had enjoyed high school, participating in school plays and in the Glee Club and even singing solos various places. Melba went on to further her education at Manchester College, graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education. Later she received her Master’s degree as a reading specialist from Ball State University in 1970.
Melba and Alan lived on the family farm when Alan first returned from military service. They then purchased a farm in Warren Township and did some farming themselves. The family enjoyed farm living, especially, their pet ponies, horses, dogs, rabbits, and cats. Melba and Alan relished their time traveling. They traveled to all fifty states and twenty different countries. Her favorite vacations however, were to Alaska, Hawaii, and Spain.
Not only was Melba a homemaker, but also a public-school Classroom Teacher, a Reading Specialist, and School Administrator. Melba taught at Urbana School from 1958-1962, Clear Creek School form 1962-1963, Niles, Illinois from 1963-64, Lyon School, Glenview, Illinois from 1964-1969, Chesterton School from 1969-1970, and retired from Michigan City Area Schools as a teacher and administrator in 1986. She also taught at Purdue North Central. Melba received the Margaret McNamara Award from “Reading is Fundamental” for founding the program in Michigan City. She was also recognized for Co-founding the Michigan City Branch of the International Reading Association. Manchester College awarded her the Alumni Service Award and the Otho Winger Recognition. Melba was also recognized for her support of Habitat for Humanity. She was a member of the American Association of University Women and the International Reading Associations.
The memory of Melba L. Howenstine will be forever cherished by her son, Kenton Alan (Janet) Howenstine, McQuon, Wisc.; daughter, Genie A. Gard, Owensville; three grandchildren, Skyler (Jennifer) Epperson, Rachel (Noah) Howenstine Hawthorne, and Carly (Brian) Howenstine Borchert; six great-grandchildren, Cross, Ainsley, and River Epperson, William Alan and Maya Hop Borchert, and Bennett Meyer Hawthorne. Melba is preceded in death by her parents; husband; and son, Kyle Howenstine who passed away in 1950.
A private graveside service will be held at Beach Grove Cemetery, Huntington County, Indiana, at a later date.
For those who wish to honor the memory of Melba L. Howenstine, memorial contributions may be made to The Alan Howenstine Care Fund for Timbercrest Residents at the Community Foundation of Wabash County, 105 West Second Street, Suite 100, North Manchester, Indiana 46962 or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Arrangements are entrusted to McKee Mortuary.