Cover photo for Melba Shepherd's Obituary
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1929 Melba Shepherd 2024

Melba Shepherd

August 17, 1929 — February 28, 2024



Melba Don Miller Shepherd, 94, of Mobile, Alabama, went home to be with her Lord and savior on February 28, 2024.

Melba was born on August 7, 1929, to William O. Miller and Mary Ellen Minton Miller in Coolidge, Texas. The family eventually moved to Oklahoma, and later to El Dorado, Arkansas, where her father was pastor at Galilee Baptist Church.

In 1946, Melba met Odis James Shepherd in El Dorado, Arkansas, shortly after he returned from serving his country in World War II. Melba and Odis started a life together and moved to Monahans, Texas, where Odis worked as a civil servant. Monahans is where they had their first two children: Devona Willis and Dennis Shepherd. Eventually, they moved to the country outside El Dorado, where Odis was a mechanic. This is where they had their third child, Russell Shepherd. After running an ad in Popular Mechanics magazine, Odis was offered a job in Mobile, and this would be the family’s final, long-term place of residence.

For a while, Melba was a bookkeeper, but her primary role was that of homemaker. She was an excellent cook, baker, seamstress, hostess, church pianist, and a doting mother and grandmother. Melba loved music and served as church pianist at several different churches throughout the years. She passed this love of music down to her daughter and granddaughters. She would often sit at her piano, playing and singing hymns she listened to while growing up as a preacher’s daughter. Melba was even known to periodically play her own rendition of “Boogie Woogie.”

Later in life, Melba worked at Cracker Barrel. She loved Cracker Barrel, and everyone there loved her. She even served as the beloved Cracker Barrel Mrs. Claus at Christmastime, sitting by the fireplace and listening to the Christmas wishes of one child after another during her favorite season of the year. She was the perfect Mrs. Claus! Even after her time as a Cracker Barrel employee ended, she frequented the restaurant regularly, and everyone knew her by name. She always ordered a glass of sweet tea with an extra glass of ice. 

Anyone who knew her well knew this social butterfly was always on the go. Melba stayed active even in her final years. She loved her church family and was a vital part of Crossroads Baptist Church in Mobile. Everywhere she went, she told people about Jesus. She would ask, “Do you know Him?” and would proceed to share the Good News with friends and strangers alike.

Melba was predeceased by her parents, her husband of 70 years, her sisters, and her brother. She is survived by Devona Willis (Dale), Dennis Shepherd (Lisa), and Russell Shepherd, as well as grandchildren Kelly Donofro (Troy), Brad Willis (Dena), Danny Shepherd (Carla), Angie Shepherd, Tommy Shepherd, and Adam Shepherd. She also leaves behind great grandchildren Roman Donofro, Danni Donofro Eubanks (Trevin), Gianna Donofro, Jordan Locke (Chase), Jasmine McMillan (Ben), Terrell Shepherd (Tiffanie), Trent Shepherd, Tripp Shepherd, and Zoey Howard, as well as great grandchildren Wilder Shepherd, Annielee McMillan, newcomer Daisy Shepherd, and soon-to-be Carson Locke. 

Services will be held at Crossroads Baptist Church on March 2 at 10:45 with visitation beginning at 10:00. We will miss our mother and “Big Gigi” terribly. We will think of her fondly and often but know she loves her new mansion in Gloryland. The ultimate “Church Lady” is finally home. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Melba Shepherd, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Public Visitation

Saturday, March 2, 2024

10:00 - 10:45 am

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Funeral Service

Saturday, March 2, 2024

10:45 - 11:45 am

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