ATHENS - The life of Melba White Kay will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Tuesday, September 4, 2012, at First Christian Church of Athens.
Melba was born February 23, 1917, to Robert J. White and Eula Guffin White in Jefferson. Mrs. Kay died Saturday, September 1, 2012. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers Otis, Lewis, James, and Cecil; and her sister Reba; and her loving husband of 65 years, Russell.
Melba White unexpectedly lost her parents to separate illnesses within a 3-day period in her 17th year, thus beginning her adult life of loving, and being loved by, dozens of individuals and families. She married her lifetime companion, W. Russell Kay, in 1939. She and Russell immediately spent 2 ½ years living and working in the Panama Canal Zone prior to returning to Athens and settling in the home they would share for nearly 60 years on Mitchell Bridge Road.
Her life with Russell included world travel, their shared interest in fast cars, and several “interesting” years of raising turkeys on their property. She retired from the UGA Cooperative Extension Office and also enjoyed her work in the Athens Probate Office with longtime Probate Judge and dear friend Peggy Hartman. Melba Kay was one of the founding members of the First Christian Church BYKOTA (be ye kind one to another) Sunday school class and together with Russell, encouraged several generations of church youth with kindness and love. Melba and Russell were self-imposed ambassadors, welcoming untold numbers of new church members with invitations to their home and hospitality. Melba was faithful to her church, with attendance and support, until her death. She also faithfully supported her childhood church, Galilee Christian Church in Jefferson.
In good times and bad, even in times of illness, injury, or deep personal loss, Melba routinely deflected attention from herself. She was unfailingly gracious and always focused on the interests of her friends and family. Her positive attitude and sense of humor meant she had visitors almost every day because it was a joy to spend time with her.
The family will receive friends prior to the service at First Christian Church, Athens, at 10 a.m. with the service at 11 a.m. Graveside services will be held at 1:30 p.m., at Galilee Christian Church in Jefferson.
Melba White Kay will be remembered fondly by every person who met her, whether a lifetime friend or service repair person. She respected and trusted everyone equally, and was rewarded with friendships in Athens, around Georgia, and overseas. She exuded southern grace and charm, and treated every visitor as a welcome guest in her home.
She leaves behind a grieving wake of cousins and their children, numerous Kay family members, loving friends, dedicated caregivers, and her church families in Athens and Jefferson. Her legacy of love and caring for others will live on in the people whose lives were enriched by knowing her.
Lord and Stephens West is in charge of arrangements.