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Neillie Melba Fries - March 27, 2012


Nellie Melba (Ham) Fries, 88, died Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at the Sarah Ann Hester Home in Benkelman, Neb.
Funeral services were held Friday, March 30, 2012, at 10 a.m. (MT), at the Benkelman United Methodist Church, with Rev. Brian Fong officiating.
Nellie was born Oct. 28, 1923, in rural Benkelman, the daughter of Ray Oliver and Nellie Josephine (Foster) Ham.
She attended District 28 School and graduated from Benkelman High School in 1941. For several years, she taught in rural Dundy County Schools.
On Aug. 29, 1945, Melba was united in marriage to Guy Fries at St. Francis, Kan. To this union nine children were born. Melba devoted her life to making a loving home for her family until 2010 when she moved to the Sarah Ann Hester Home in Benkelman.
Melba loved her family, playing the piano and listening to music, gardening, reading and quilting. She made comforters for her family and friends. She played the piano for the Christmas programs at District 66. Melba also attended sporting events at both home and away to watch her children and grandchildren play.
During her stay at the Hester Home, Melba spent her time playing bingo, reading, playing cards, dominoes, board games, attending church services and birthday parties. Melba was a 77-year member of the United Methodist Church.
Melba was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Nellie Ham; three brothers, Marvin Ham in infancy and Leon and Wayne Ham; three sisters, Hazel Ham in infancy and Doris and Marjorie Ham; and husband, Guy Fries of 64 years; brothers-in-law, Dale, Rodney Fries; and infant brother-in-law, Charles; and infant sister-in-law, Arda May Fries.
Survivors include nine children, Barbara and husband, Wayne Barent, of Ogallala, Neb.; Janet and husband, Kurt Applegarth, of Palisade, Neb.; Jerry Fries and wife, Cindy, of Benkelman; Kenny Fries and wife, Marla, of Benkelman; Susan and husband, Galen Todd, of Wauneta, Neb.; Richard Fries and wife, Valerie, of Benkelman; John Fries of Benkelman; Lori and husband, Tim Rettele, of Benkelman; Connie and husband, Craig Kerchal, of Benkelman; 17 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; 10 step great-grandchildren; six great-great grandchildren; brother, Ray Junior Ham and wife, Pat, of Humbolt, Texas; step-brother-in-law, Robert Jones and wife, Irene, of Rapid City, S.D.; sister-in-law, Inez Fries of Rapid City, S.D.
Burial will be in the Benkelman Cemetery.
Forch Funeral Chapel at Benkelman is in charge of the arrangements.