Phyllis Melby

Phyllis Evelyn Melby neé Abear, age 85 of Prior Lake, formerly of Richfield, passed away December 30, 2018. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 with a visitation 1-hour prior at the Cascade United Methodist Church (2278 Black Lake Rd) Deerwood. A time of gathering will be held on Sunday, January 13, 2019 from 1-4:00 PM with closing prayers at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation (4565 Pleasant St. SE) Prior Lake. Phyllis will be laid to rest at the Deerwood Cemetery. Her granddaughter, Lori Groven, will act as urn bearer.

On October 21, 1933, Phyllis was born in Deerwood to parents, Fred and Chleo (Terry) Abear. She was the eighth of nine children. From a young age, Phyllis was surrounded by and loved her large family.

Later in life, she often reminisced about her brothers, stationed overseas during WWII, and the relief she felt when they returned home. In her youth, Phyllis enjoyed playing tennikoit, dancing to the jitterbug, and attending school functions.

A proud graduate of Crosby-Ironton, she never forgot her school rouser! At the White Pine Dancehall, Phyllis caught the eye of Orville Melby, who was voted “most handsome” in high school. After four years of dating, they exchanged wedding vows September 22, 1956 at the Deerwood United Methodist Church. This union was blessed with 53 years together.

Deeply influenced by her French and English heritage, Phyllis carried on her family’s tradition through her signature recipes; Caramel rolls, fudge, fried bread dough, and most importantly, chocolate cake. A tradition started by her mother, Phyllis made a chocolate cake weekly for her family.

Later in life, Phyllis joined her daughters on numerous road trips to the Black Hills, Yellowstone, and Door County, and the Amana Colonies. Rather than collect souvenirs, Phyllis would find and sample local maple nut fudge. She also enjoyed antiquing on weekend trips with her daughters. For many years, Phyllis and Orville grew a large flower and vegetable garden together.

The biggest joy in Phyllis’ life was her family. She loved her large family and with children in tow, Phyllis attended her brother Douglas’ band gigs. In her final months, her face would light up at the sound of songs that her brother used to sing. She was the go-to caretaker for her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She adored children and was proud to be a grandmother. Along with Orville, she attended the birth of all her grandchildren! Whenever her family needed her, she was there with a smile.

A beautiful and loving woman, Phyllis is missed by her children, Debra (Dean Daniels) Anger, Timothy(Kelly) Melby, Janet (Tony) Litke, Tina (Scott) Prchal; grandchildren, Katie (Dan) Sherburne, Lori (Jerry) Groven, Joseph (Adrienne) Anger, Adam (Megan) Litke, Benjamin Litke, David Litke, Sally Melby, Andrew Melby, Trevor Melby, Grace Prchal; great-grandchildren, Whitney and Vincent Groven, Devon and Evelyn Litke; sisters-in-law, Helen Abear and Carol Abear; other relatives and friends.

Phyllis is greeted in Heaven by her husband, Orville; parents, Fred and Chleo; siblings, Lawrence(Margaret) Abear, Lila (Voit) Savolainen, Doug (Toots) Abear, Mardelle (Julian) Avelsgaard, Richard (Pat) Abear, Bev (Edward) Michael, Don Abear, and Gary Abear.

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Condolence Messages

  1. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends. May you find some comfort in the promise found in Revelation 21: 3-4 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14. Knowing that there is an opportunity to be reunited with loved ones.

  2. Cheri (Abear) Jovanovich-Miller

    To my Abear/Melby cousins and family, –I am so sorry for your loss. I have such sweet memories of your mom. I remember that chocolate cake, and the fudge for sure. But her laugh, what a good memory that is! Many years have passed, but i can so clearly remember when we were all kids sitting on the hill at grandma & grandpa’s house, counting cars. I loved your mom, and I will keep you all in prayer. God bless you auntie Phyllis.

    • Cheri,
      Thank you for thinking of us. I miss you dear cousin. We have so many lovely memories that always involved a lot of giggles and usually mixed in with fudge (sometimes a failed batch—didn’t stop us from enjoying it) or cake. Hugs to you and miss you so much. Love you, Deb

  3. Oh! how I loved her. She was like a sister to me. Memories of she, Orville, Gary and myself going to area dances to do the polka, shatish (spell?) and old fashioned waltzes.The 4 of us playing cards. Her fabulous chocolate cake make with coffee and hersheys chocolate. My daughter, Cheri and her daughter, Debbie such close cousins. I can still hear her infectious laugh, and always admired her beautiful black shiny hair. she will be missed by so many people. To the family : Hold on to your memories, and let them guide you during this time of sadness.
    Loving you, Marge Stormo ( former wife of deceased Gary Abear )

    • Auntie Margie,
      So good to hear from you. I miss Mom so much and my heart is completely broken. She was so much fun. I know she loved you and I think you two used to giggle as much as Cheri and I did. Love you auntie Margie and thank you so much for thinking of us.

  4. Roxane Kavaloski

    Your mom was beautiful. She gave a lot of care to her children as well as her grandchildren and family! Blessings to her as she arrive in heaven.

  5. We sure had fun together at Lakeview, back in the say! Miss those days…she was a blast to hang out with. Sending love and hugs to you all. Paul & Cindy Mihalko

  6. I did not know your mother but it is clear all the good in her shows in her family. Chocolate cake is my favorite! How great it would be to enjoy it once a week. Love and peace to your family today and everyday.

  7. Mike and Mary Anne Melby

    Sorry to hear about Phyllis. She was such a sweet woman. Our sympathy goes out to her children and grandchildren.

  8. Rebecca S Stillwell

    So sorry to hear of Phyllis’ passing. I am the daughter of Loyd Melby, Orville’s older brother, and remember several vacations from Montana to Minnesota, as a child, to visit the Melby family. I do remember Phyllis was a very happy person during all of our visits and fun to be with both her and Orville. Those were the best times….

  9. Elizabeth Soderlund

    I am so blessed to have been able to take care of phyllis at Mckenna. She had a personality that was larger than life and brightened any room she was in with her beautiful smile and contagious laugh! I love you Phyllis and miss you very much!

  10. Bonnie McConnell

    My sympathy to Tim Melby and family! “We grieve not as those with no hope.” Hold tightly to the hope of being reunited with Phyllis at the end of your earth journey. Cherish your memories and your pictures of her. Live life forward in God honoring ways that you too will some day enter Heaven. I hope that you have her chocolate cake recipe.

  11. Bonnie McConnell

    My sympathy to Tim Melby and family. “We grieve not as those with no hope.” Hold tightly to the hope of being reunited with Phyllis at the end of your earth journey. Cherish your memories and your pictures of her. Live life forward in God honoring ways that you too will enter Heaven some day. I hope that you have her chocolate cake recipe.

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