Melba Joyce Pollard Blackwell, age 91, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 5, 2020. A family graveside service will be held on Wednesday, December 9th at 1:30 pm at Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Mineola, TX. (The family requests those attending follow local Covid-19 guidelines.)
Melba was born on September 28, 1929 in the rural community of “Squash Hollow,” TX, the first child to her beloved parents, Clarence William Pollard and Oma Belle Bailey Pollard. She grew up in the Clover Hill and Cartwright communities just north of Quitman, TX, living in the “Bailey homeplace” until marriage. She attended Clover Hill and Cartwright Schools until they consolidated with Quitman ISD. Melba loved school and learning and graduated as Valedictorian of her close-knit class of 1948. After graduation, Melba started her career at First National Bank of Quitman and married her “sweetheart,” Howard Blackwell on September 9, 1951. They moved to Quitman and Melba worked at the bank until the birth of their first child in 1953. While raising a growing family, Melba assisted her husband Howard with his hobby greenhouse – growing vegetable plants. The hobby soon blossomed into a successful family business of Blackwell Greenhouses and Flower Shop. Melba and Howard parlayed the greenhouse business into a large wholesale operation and Melba ran the flower shop which intertwined her life with community celebrations and occasions. After 42 years, they decided to retire and sold the greenhouse portion to their son Earl and wife Linda and the flower shop to a local family.
In 1989, they retired to their “farm” on FM 2088, building a new home, hobby greenhouse, warehouse for Howard’s tractors and a fishing pond. There they enjoyed hosting family and friends, spoiling grandchildren and pursuing their hearts’ desires in retired life. Melba was an accomplished quilter and gifted many of her beautiful creations to family, friends and even her grandson’s dog Sadie! Melba was a fantastic cook and perfected the art of canning Howard’s bounty from his garden - her specialty being garlic dill pickles and okra and the unending supply of summer tomatoes. She purchased and planted countless collections of day lilies and they became her favorite gardening project. She never met a book she didn’t like; she loved Bible history study and keeping a daily journal on their farm life and the weather. Always active and faithful Christians, Melba and Howard centered their life around God and church family. Melba taught youth and adult Sunday School at First Baptist Church and later worshipped at Faith Baptist Church where she enjoyed a “second family” after Howard’s death in 2003. Melba was also a proud breast cancer survivor.
Melba was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence William and Oma Belle Bailey Pollard, her brother Richard Wayne Pollard, dearest husband William Howard Blackwell and her beloved first-born son, William Earl Blackwell. She is survived by her children, daughter-in-law, Linda Herzog Blackwell; daughter Shirley Blackwell Fleming and husband Rodney; and daughter Margaret Blackwell Lamb and husband Monty. Grandchildren Layne Blackwell and wife Leah; Payton Blackwell; Adrienne Fleming Handford and husband Matt; Alex Fleming and wife Lauren; Sarah Batson and fiancé Trent; and Blake Batson. Melba adored her grandchildren and was loving and present in every phase of their lives. She was blessed with five great-grandchildren, Noah, Natalie & Caleb Blackwell and Elliott & Avery Handford. Melba is also survived by two sisters, Mary Lou Pollard Jones and husband Darrell; and Myra Pollard Low and husband Larry. She was blessed by a large extended family of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins whom she loved dearly.
Memorials can be made in her name to: Amedisys Hospice (3833 Texas Ave., Ste. 100; Bryan, TX 77802) or Caring Hands Ministry; c/o Faith Baptist Church (P.O. Box 1495; Quitman, TX 75783) Family contact: Shirley Blackwell Fleming – firstname.lastname@example.org