Betty M. Melbye, age 96, of Willmar, passed away Thursday evening, Sept. 23, at Bethesda Grand in Willmar surrounded by her children.
A celebration of life service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, at Vinje Lutheran Church. Interment will be at Cloverleaf Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home and also one hour prior to the service at the church. These events will be held not only for Betty, but also for her late husband Lowell, who died nine hours after she did. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to First Lutheran Church in St. Paul, PEO for scholarships, Friends of the Willmar Library, or Vinje Church for music. Due to the increase of COVID-19 in our area, masks will be required at both the visitation and at their memorial service. Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home. www.petersonbrothers.com
Betty was born on July 4, 1925 to Gerhard and Olga (Grund) Alexis in St. Paul. She was baptized, confirmed, and married at First Lutheran Church in St. Paul.
Betty graduated from Harding High School and from the University of Minnesota with an education degree in Social Studies and a minor in Vocal Music. At the U of M she sang in the University Chorus. Additional studies were at St. Cloud State University in Special Education. Betty taught in Battle Lake and Appleton, where she directed all music groups. Later she taught at the Adolescent Treatment Unit (ATU) for the Willmar School District for a number of years.
On June 18, 1951 she married Lowell Melbye and they lived in Eagle Bend, Clarissa, and Atwater before moving to Willmar. During these early years, their children Barbara, Karen, and David were born.
In Willmar Betty was active at Vinje Church where she was a choir member, the 5th and 6th grade choir director, a Circle member, and a volunteer at the bazaar and for securing greeters.
In the community Betty originally belonged to AAUW, Social Club, and was a member of the Willmar Concert Board, and more recently was a member of PEO, Red Hats, and several bridge clubs.
Betty liked to travel and visited several European countries, South America, and China. Lowell and she also traveled the U.S. with friends and spent time in the Brainerd area and the North Shore. After retirement they spent winter months in Arizona where they met many new friends.
Betty loved life and tried to live it to the fullest. Being born on the Fourth of July, she was a real firecracker! Betty was proud of her husband, their children, her Swedish heritage, and the musical gifts she inherited.
Betty is survived by three children, Barbara (Greg) Janssen of Maple Grove, Karen of San Diego, and David (Sara Sheaffer) of Bellingham, Washington, step-grandson Matt Janssen of Munich, Germany, step-grandson Jeremiah Goggins of Bellingham, many nieces, nephews, and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Gerhard Alexis, Jr., and sister Ruth Wolff.
The Melbye children wish to thank neighbor, friend and caregiver, Linda Nelson, friends Lorna and Marlyn Bahl, the caring nursing staff at Bethesda Club Suites, Bethesda Grand and the amazing St. Croix Hospice personnel for the exceptional care provided to our parents.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty M. (Alexis) Melbye, please visit our floral store.