Lansing, NY

Melba H. Wilkinson of Lansing, New York passed away March 5, 2014 at the age of 95 at the Hospicare Residence in Ithaca.

Born August 27, 1918 in Cambria, Wyoming, Melba was the youngest of four children born to the late Joel and Ida Hill. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 63 years, Gordon R. Wilkinson; brothers, Eino Hill and Joel Hill, both of Van Etten, New York; her sister, Irene Tanhauser, and a nephew David Tanhauser, both of New York City.

Melba is survived by her daughters, Judith W. Rumsey and her husband, Charles J. Rumsey, 815 Cobb Street, Groton, New York, 13073 and Lynn L. Wilkinson and her husband, Robert S. Freudenheim, PO Box 1406, Taos, New Mexico, 87571; a grandson, Fredrick P. Rumsey of Dallas, Texas; and a niece, Patricia Truta of Owings Mills, Maryland.

Melba’s early life included extensive travel throughout the American West with her Finnish family. She graduated from Van Etten High School and Wanamaker’s Academy. She worked in a factory in Elmira in support of the effort during World War II. Melba retired from Cornell University where she was a secretary for many years in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College Of Human Ecology.

Melba was devoted to her husband and their children. Her interests were sewing, swimming, reading, and camping with her family locally and in the Adirondacks. Melba and Gordon enjoyed traveling to Arizona, Florida, and New Mexico to visit Lynn and Bob in Taos.

Melba will be remembered as a kind, loving and considerate woman.

As per her wishes, there will be no funeral service. A private burial service at Lakeview Cemetery will be in the spring at the convenience of the family. A date to celebrate her life with a gathering of family and friends will be announced at a later time.

Melba enjoyed the wonderment and companionship of animals and birds. In this spirit, contributions in her memory may be directed to the Tompkins County SPCA, 1640 Hanshaw Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850.