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Obituary ~ Barbara A. "Barb" (Tschirki) Meleney
August 06, 1943 ~ May 29, 2010

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Wednesday, June 02, 2010

MASON CITY — Barbara A. Meleney, 66, of Mason City died Saturday (May 29, 2010) at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, June 4, 2010, at First United Methodist Church, 119 S. Georgia Ave., with the Rev. Jim Stiles officiating. Interment will be held in Madison Cemetery in Forest City.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 3, 2010, at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Mason City.

Memorials may be directed to Hospice of North Iowa or First United Methodist Church.

Barbara was born Aug. 6, 1943, in Forest City, Iowa, the daughter of Ray and Helen (Johnson) Tschirki. She attended school in Forest City before moving on to business college in Minneapolis, Minn. She played basketball and was a cheerleader for the Hayfield Hornets.

On Feb. 5, 1963, she was united in marriage to Lee Meleney in San Clemente, Calif., and from that union came three children. During their time in California, Barbara and Lee enjoyed spending time at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, going to the beach and bowling with friends.

Barbara was a member of the Red Hats, Homemaker Health Group, Birthday Club and First United Methodist Church. She also started her own organization for the blind called Friendly Eyes.

She enjoyed her grandchildren and family, barbecuing, cooking and dancing. She will be deeply missed by all who loved and knew her.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Lee Meleney, of Mason City; two sons, Tim (Karen) Meleney of San Diego, Calif., and Kory (Nicole) Meleney, of Mason City; son-in-law, Paul Despenas of Johnston; and grandchildren, Alexa Lee Despenas, Alaina Marie Despenas, Kaitlyn Nicole Meleney and Marah Marie Meleney.

She was preceded in death by her parents; daughter, Liza (Meleney) Despenas; and infant sister, Rose Marie.

Arrangements are with Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 641-423-0924. http://www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com/">www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com

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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
August 23, 2010

In memory of his ‘girls’
Richard Johnson's column

Sleek white clouds line the deep blue sky over Lee Meleney’s backyard.

The colors contrast nicely with those here below.

A garden trellis, wishing well, concrete benches and recirculating water fountain are surrounded by red and pink geraniums and pampas grass.

Soon there will also be a plaque reading: “In Memory of Barbara and Liza.”

Barbara, Lee’s wife of 47 years, and Liza Despenas, their beloved daughter, passed away over the last year and a half.

They are missed.

“I wasn’t gonna spare the horses for ’em, because they were the most beautiful girls in the world,” said Lee, 76. “I can sit out here at night, listen to the waterfall and think about all the memories we had together. They’re all good memories.”

Barbara Tschirki married the tall Marine she’d noticed in 1959 at a high school basketball game between her school, Forest City, and his, Garner-Hayfield.

He stood out, at least partly, because his sister had tinted his hair.

A picture in Lee’s living room shows the smiling crew-cut Marine feeding his bride a bite of cake after their wedding on Feb. 5, 1963, in San Clemente, Calif.

Barbara was a do-er: a homemaker, a Red Hat Lady, a Birthday Club member and a champion for blind persons. She helped form a support group, Friendly Eyes, after she became legally blind.

Ovarian cancer took her this past May 29.

"She was quite the lady,” Lee said. “She was very caring — a sharing person. She’d always put people ahead of her. She was a very loving wife and mother and grandmother. I mean, outstanding. She loved her church (First United Methodist) very much.”

Lee and Barb have two sons, Tim of San Diego and Kory of Mason City.

Their sister, Liza, was a sports fan who played softball and was a drill team member at Mason City High.

She married Paul Despenas in 1991. They had almost 18 years together until lung and liver problems took Liza on March 8, 2009, at age 41.

Lee Meleney said his wife and daughter were “quite the girls.”

“They both loved life, dancing, good television,” he said. “They made me laugh a lot, which is good for the old heart.”

The backyard memorial was built this summer by another ex-Marine, Dave Abbott of Clear Lake.

It actually starts in Lee’s front yard, where flowers line a silver maple tree and a planter holds big green hostas.

He knows just what his girls would say about the additions to his place, which is Marine Corps immaculate.

“They’d say, ‘Oh, Dad, you didn’t have to do all this. We know you loved us,’” Lee said.

“‘But it sure is beautiful, Dad.’”

Richard Johnson writes about people, places and things in the Globe Gazette.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016

 

 

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