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D: 2020-07-04
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D: 2020-07-03
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D: 2020-07-03
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B: 1949-07-25
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B: 1933-08-05
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B: 1990-02-20
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B: 1926-11-19
D: 2020-06-28
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B: 1947-04-17
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B: 1930-02-06
D: 2020-06-27
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B: 1946-06-11
D: 2020-06-26
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B: 1926-10-27
D: 2020-06-26
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B: 1934-02-26
D: 2020-06-26
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10610 Manchester Road
Kirkwood, MO 63122-1308
Phone: 314-965-7680

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Melba Willman
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Melba Lorraine
Willman (Carr)
1926 - 2018
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Obituary for Melba Lorraine Willman (Carr)

Melba Lorraine  Willman (Carr)
The family of Melba Lorraine Willman announce with great sorrow that she has passed away on December 8, 2018 at the age of 92 years. Born on September 22, 1926 in Carbondale, Illinois, Melba received a scholarship from University of Illinois and graduated from there. In 1952 she wed Dr. Vallee L. Willman, Sr. and began her life as a supportive wife to an academic surgeon and mother to nine children in St. Louis. Melba's life was one of humble and compassionate service to others. In the wake of the early and tragic death of son Timothy in 1976, Melba formed support groups to provide consolation to other grieving parents. In the 1970's, recognizing a need for better communication during surgery between surgeons and patients' families, Melba established and managed a volunteer program at St. Louis University Hospital in which volunteers served as liaisons in providing updates from the operating room to families in the waiting room, as well as giving families comfort and support. As an extension of that work, Melba realized that families of patients from outside the St. Louis metropolitan area needed convenient accommodations while visiting relatives at St. Louis University Hospital. Melba was the driving force behind proposing the purchase of a house near the hospital to provide such accommodations and she was instrumental in engaging the St. Louis University Hospital Women’s Auxiliary in raising funds for that purchase. The Hospitality House served countless families for decades until 2016 when it was demolished as part of the construction of the new SSM Health - St. Louis University Hospital. In 1993 the St. Louis University School of Medicine Woman's Club ceremoniously honored Melba in recognition for her selfless devotion to patients' families and to St. Louis University Hospital for many years. Melba had honorably served as president of the St. Louis University School of Medicine Woman's Club. Melba and Val were married for 57 years before Val died in 2009. In their marriage, Melba was a loyal and adoring wife, trusted advisor, collaborator, and intellectual partner as well as resourceful homemaker and devoted, loving mother. Melba was very proud of her children and their successes and found great joy in her time spent with her many grandchildren. She had genuine affection and appreciation for her children’s spouses and for her husband’s extended family.

Melba is survived by her children, Philip Louis Willman (Hilda) of St. Louis; Elizabeth Anne Murphy (James) of St. Louis; Susan Patrice Willman, MD (Patrick) of Oakland, California; Stephen Joseph Willman (Colleen) of St. Louis; Mark Richard Willman (Valerie) of Kauai, Hawaii; Jane Willman Turner, MD (Roger) of St. Louis; Vallee Louis Willman, Jr. (Claire) of Webster Groves; and Sarah Louise Cuneo (Brian) of Bethesda, Maryland. She is also survived by her brother Carroll Carr of Wood River, Illinois and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In her blessed, rich, long, and fulfilling life, Melba graced the lives of friends, extended family, and countless others with her innumerable acts of charity, gentleness, friendship, warm hospitality, and loving kindness.

If you would like to honor Melba with a memorial gift, she requested that they be directed to the "Vallee and Melba Willman Endowed Chair in Surgery" or the “Dr. Vallee L. Willman Endowed Scholarship” at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Please contact Stacey Hutchens at 314-977-3287,, or go to

Visitation Saturday, December 15th, 11:00 am followed by 12:00 noon Mass at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Webster Groves, Missouri. Private interment to follow.
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