December 16, 1932 – September 11, 2017
Melba was born in Lubbock, Texas on Dec. 16, 1932 to Carl and Evelyn Bender. The Bender family moved to Dayton, Wash., her mother’s home town, when she was 1 year old. She attended school in Dayton. She moved to Midland, Texas. She met and married Jesse Wilkinson on April 19, 1953. She was in the ministry with him for over 64 years. She was a teacher and counselor for 50 years of pastoring. She traveled with her husband when preaching in America as well as other countries. She was a speaker at General Council of the Assemblies of God, which was a high honor.
The Wilkinsons pastored nine years at First Assembly of God in Richland, Wash. and led in the building of the present auditorium in use. They pastored First Assembly of God in Moses Lake, Wash. for 12 years and led in the building of the present auditorium in use.
She is survived by her husband of over 64 years, Rev. Jesse Wilkinson, and son Randyl Wilkinson, both of Walla Walla, Wash., brother Jesse Bender of Spokane, Wash. and sister Carlene Ratcliff of Midlothian, Texas and a host of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Carl and Evelyn (Bailey) Bender, brothers George, Carl, John, Jim, Floyd and Lloyd, and sisters Portia, Evelyn, Vesta, Laura, and Maureen. Melba was a Christian all her life and also served in some capacity of her church.
Proverbs 29 from the Bible best describes her life. She fought the good fight of life and kept her faith in her savior The Lord Jesus Christ till her earthly life was no more. She entered into the presence of the Lord Sept. 11, 2017 to receive her reward. She will be missed by family and friends. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15.
Memorial service will be Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at 11 a.m. at First Assembly of God, 1919 Fern Ave., Walla Walla Wash. Internment will be at Waitsburg Cemetery on Sept. 22, 2017 at 1 p.m., Rev. Sam Boettcher officiating.