Obituary Details

Melba Appleton Rose

March 30, 1923 - December 10, 2019

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Melba Appleton Rose passed away on Dec 10, 2019 in Raleigh, NC at the age of 96 years, peacefully, from Alzheimer’s disease.

She was born in 1923 and raised in Charleston, WV, where she worked full-time as a secretary at FMC Corporation while attending night classes and completing her BA from Marshall University. She majored in History, minored in English, and earned a teaching certificate. Upon graduation, she married Beverly Rose, who was a chemical engineer at FMC, and born and raised in Wadesboro, NC. When he was transferred to New York City, they moved to Norwalk, CT, where they lived for more than fifty years.

Melba was a dedicated wife and mother, who worked with great devotion for her church and many charitable organizations. She was an excellent pianist and played for many churches and charitable organizations ever since her teens, and was Regent for the Norwalk and Connecticut state DAR chapters. She managed the state DAR scholarship competition for high school students for many years and gave guided tours to students at the Norwalk Town House. She was an enthusiastic genealogist, researching her family history for the DAR and the Colonial Dames, and helping many others to establish their lineage for qualifying membership. She was very active in her church, the First Congregational Church on the Village Green of Norwalk. She worked in the Betas women’s circle, sang in the Choir, and helped with catering and fundraisers. She was a past Order of the Eastern Star Worthy Matron, and was an active member of the AAUW. She was a substitute school teacher for the Norwalk Public Schools.

She loved and collected antiques of all kinds. She read or took classes to learn to do cross stitch, needle and petit point, crewel embroidery, wood refinishing and chair rushing and caning, to create items of beauty and restore those that were neglected. A gardener with a ‘green thumb,’ she formed beautiful flower beds at home and created many stunning floral arrangements for school, church and charitable events. She and her husband were leaders in a community campaign to preserve woodland and wetland areas near their home from a housing development. She went on her own to England, Scotland and France in her 70s. She loved to meet people, and all of her interests and activities became opportunities for connections and friendship.

Melba’s cognitive losses became more apparent when she lost her beloved husband of 54 years in 2008. Despite the illness that took her life, she still could find some joy in her life up to her last day, and was still known as a sweet, gentle and loving person. She remained able to read music and play the piano, even when she could no longer read books or barely speak. One of the last understandable things she could say was, "I love you."

She is survived by her two children, Katherine Bonnie Rose, and William Appleton Rose and his wife, Cathy.

Memorial services will be held in Raleigh, NC and Norwalk, CT. Condolences may be sent to Bonnie Rose at 446 S. Graham St, Pittsburgh, PA 15232 and Bill and Cathy Rose at 6148 Riverside Drive, Wake Forest, NC 27587. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Foundation or to the First Congregational Church, 3 Lewis St., Norwalk, CT 06851.

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