The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 16, 2013

Melva Fae Allen Unruh

Published 7-17-13


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Melva Fae Allen Unruh, born Feb. 5, 1927, passed from this life on Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Midwest City, Okla.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Thursday, July 18, 2013, at St. Matthew United Methodist Church, Midwest City. A viewing will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at Paylor Family Funeral Care, Midwest City.

Born in El Dorado, Kan., to Howard Edgar Allen and Gladys Smith Allen, Melva was the youngest of 11 children.

She grew up in Lahoma, Okla., raised by her mother after her father left in 1929, to seek work. She and her siblings were a very close-knit group, not just relatives, but also close friends in a family bond that lasted always.

Melva attended first through 12th grade in Lahoma, graduating from Lahoma High School in 1945, one of 13 class members.

Because she had straight A’s through school, she was eligible for a War Time teaching certificate following a brief training course at Phillips University in Enid. She taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Garfield County west of Enid for two years, teaching all subjects to students in grades 1-8. During that time, she met Bob Unruh of Enid on a blind date, and they were married on Oct. 19, 1946, in Wellington, Kan. They made their home in Lahoma, moving to Enid, where Melva became a full-time homemaker. Bob and Melva had four daughters.

She enjoyed reading, sewing, quilting, cake decorating and playing many board and card games, using games whenever possible to teach concepts such as multiplication or spelling to her daughters. Throughout her life, she could recite lengthy poems she had memorized as a child, and she loved to choose “readings” for her young daughters to memorize and perform. The family took a two-week driving vacation every summer, and though the long car trips could be a bit stressful, she helped all build wonderful memories to last a lifetime.

She and Bob moved to Oklahoma City and then Midwest City in the mid-1950s, leaving for Austin, Texas, from 1965-68, followed by a return of the family to Midwest City.

She taught children’s Sunday school classes for 11 years and she held several leadership positions in the St. Matthew United Methodist Women organization. She was a skilled seamstress who sewed nearly all the clothes for herself and her four daughters.

After Bob’s retirement, he and Melva spent years creating items for a craft show booth they took to shows across the state, making friends everywhere they went. She was well known for her “Quiet Books” for toddlers, cloth books providing interactive fun and, as always, learning opportunities for young children.

The couple also joined a retirees travel club, and enjoyed very much their trips to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada, Alaska, and many other locations in the U.S.

Melva was preceded in death by her parents and all of her siblings: sisters, June Walton (Hap), Vonnie Roth (Rex), Mildred Hackney (Lee), Evelyn Koehn (Ervin), and Dorothy Montgomery (Ray), and brothers Vernon, Lennis, Delbert, Marvin and baby Royce, who died in infancy.

She is survived by her husband, Bob of the home; daughters, Connie Blakney and Deborah Allison of Edmond, Pamela Brown and husband Terry of Stillwater, and Robin Smith and husband Joe of Parthenon, Ark. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Helen Coughlin and fiance Robert Kotson of Wheeling, W.V., David Blakney also of Wheeling, Tobie Cunningham of Edmond, Holly Brown of Tulsa, and Donald Brown of Stillwater. She also is survived by three great-grandsons, Dash Cunningham of Edmond, and Kevin and Brian Coughlin of Wheeling.

Pallbearers will be nephews, Terry Unruh, Jeff Unruh and Russell Unruh; sons-in-law, Joe Smith and Terry Brown; and grandson, Donald Brown.

(Submitted by family)