Maria Contreras Melcher Obituary

Maria Contreras Melcher, 83, died peacefully at home on April 20th, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Maria was born in Valle Umbroso, San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1937 and emigrated to Benton Harbor when she was 9 years old. She learned English while attending Morton Hill Elementary School in Benton Harbor. Upon graduation from Benton Harbor High School she began her long history of employment with Whirlpool Corporation. Starting in the law department, she quickly became the executive secretary to chief council for the corporation, Robert Willemin. When Maria retired she was the executive secretary for Jack Sparks, CEO of Whirlpool Corporation. After years of active membership in First Congregational Church in Benton Harbor she became a founding member of Pilgrim Congregational UCC in Lincoln Township.

Maria was preceded in death by her parents, Ambrosio and Cruz; her brothers, Reyes, Filiberto, Leandro, and Ambrosio; her beloved sister, Leoncia; and her infant grandson, Washburne Robert Melcher. She leaves behind her husband of 51 years, Robert Melcher and sons David Melcher {and his wife Susan and daughter Mara Mayhem Melcher), and Andrew Melcher {and his son Maddox Gray Melcher); and numerous nieces and nephews. Maria's family is thankful for the love and care provided by Caring Circle Hospice and the extraordinary caregivers from Right at Home, Ashlie MacGregor and Sheila Moore.

Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held in the future, when conditions permit. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to Pilgrim Congregational UCC, 1200 West Glenlord Rd, St. Joseph, Ml 49085 or

Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel & Cremation Services. 

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