Melba Jean Ferguson Tilmon Graham, 90, passed away peacefully in her home on March 12, 2022. She was born April 9, 1931 to Harry and Ethel Ferguson. After graduating from Lincoln High School, Melba went on to study at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. Melba graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, and began her professional career at Wheatley Hospital as the only radiology technician (it was a very small hospital).
Melba married George W Tilmon Jr, a Colonel in the US Army, on August 27, 1955. Melba and George Jr. had three children, George III, Melody, and Gary. As a military spouse, Melba and her family moved every 2-3 years. Together, the family lived in Germany and several cities stateside. George Jr. passed away February 1970, leaving Melba as a widow and single mother of the couple’s three children.
As a widow, Melba supported her family by working at various hospitals, including the University of Missouri - Dental School, as a Radiology Technician Manager. After 20 years, Melba retired from the Dental school and began substitute teaching for the Kansas City Public Schools where her grandchildren attended school.
In 1999, after reconnecting with Dr. Richard M Graham, Dean of Music at the University of Georgia, Melba decided “I've been a widow long enough.” Later, that same year, Melba married her “knight in shining armor.” Melba and Richard lived in Athens, Georgia. Together Melba and Richard enjoyed Georgia football games, operas, musical groups, bridge, and traveling, both locally in Georgia and to Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, San Francisco. Melba and Richard were married until his death in May 2015.
Melba was preceded in death by her father Harry Ferguson, her mother Ethel Donnelly Ferguson, her 2 brothers (Harry Jr and Hubert) and her 3 sisters (Natalie, Ethel Marie, Careita).
Melba is survived by her 4 children, George W Tilmon III (Karen), Melody Tilmon Allen (Brent), Gary W Tilmon (Sharon), and Gregory Graham (Mildren); 7 grandchildren, Tiffany Sawyer (Robert), George Tilmon IV, Melika Harris (Chris), Steven Tilmon, Brent Allen (Symone), Sasha McWaters (Evans) and Genevieve Tilmon; and 13 great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Services will be held Thursday, March 17, 2022 11:00am at Watkins Heritage Chapel. Interment Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Service conducted by Watkins Heritage Chapel. Condolences may be shared on our website.
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