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Melba Inez Stirewalt
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Obituary for Melba Inez Stirewalt

Melba Inez Ketner Eddleman Stirewalt, 94, passed away of natural cause Thursday, December 28, 2017, at Hospice of Cabarrus County.
She was born July 11, 1923, to Lillie Mae Phillips Ketner and Archibald Caldwell Ketner in Rockwell. She grew up in Rowan County, graduated from Landis High School in 1941 and from a one year business course at Lenoir-Rhyne College the year after. She was married to Alton Brown Eddleman from December 24, 1941, until his death 43 years later. She was then married to Charles Alexander Stirewalt from September 5, 1986, until his death 23 years later. In addition to both husbands, Melba was predeceased by both of her brothers, Arnold Hugh Ketner of New Port Richie, FL, and Jack Caldwell Ketner, Sr. of Hickory; and her son, Gary Wayne Eddleman.
She is survived by her sister, Mary Alice Ketner Cross Carpenter of Rockwell; and her three remaining children, Edwin “Ed” Blaine Eddleman (Kristy) of Charlotte, Melba Anne Eddleman Simpkins of Knoxville, TN and Rockwell, and Keith Arnold Eddleman of New York, NY; as well as four stepchildren, three grandchildren, five stepgrandchildren, two great-grandchildren and six stepgreat-grandchildren.
After their marriage, Alton worked at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards in Maryland building merchant ships for use in World War II. As a reward for diligence at his job, Melba was chosen to christen the S.S. John Woolman on April 22, 1943, an honor usually reserved for dignitaries.
After World War II, Melba became a very active member of Center Grove Lutheran Church in Kannapolis. This church and its congregation were profoundly important to her and remained so throughout her entire life.
Around 1948, Alton and Melba assumed the responsibility of running Eddleman’s Grocery on South Cannon Blvd. and then opened The Big Dollar Market a few yards away in 1954. After selling The Big Dollar Market, Melba worked for Kannapolis City Schools as a substitute teacher for 10 years. She and Alton opened Star Insurance Agency and she continued to work in the insurance industry until she retired in 1993. She was a volunteer for the Girl Scouts of America for many years. During retirement, she served as a volunteer for many years at CS Northeast. Both before and after retirement, she worked as a volunteer for the Cabarrus County Board of Elections, Precinct 04-02 and for many of those years she served as the Chief Judge for the precinct.
Melba was a talented seamstress, avid bridge player, and accomplished Toastmaster but her true avocational passion was dancing. She and Alton were active members of the Lucky Double Ballroom Dance Club and the Kannoneer’s Western Square Dancing Club. She continued her membership with the Kannoneer’s after marrying Charles and participated in many activities of the western square dancing community, including a trip to Europe.
Melba lived an amazing life. She was born in rural Rowan County. As an elementary school student, she did her homework by candlelight and traveled to school by horse and buggy. By the time of her death, she was reading her Bible and other books on a tablet device and witnessed the development of cars that can drive themselves. In her almost 95 years, she touched the lives of many and will be sorely missed.
A memorial service is planned for 11 am, Saturday, January 13, 2018, at Center Grove Lutheran Church. The family will receive friends in the church beginning at 10 am.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Center Grove Lutheran Church Lift Fund, 1600 South Cannon Blvd., Kannapolis, NC 28083; or Hospice of Cabarrus County, 5003 Hospice Lane, Kannapolis, NC 28081.

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