Celebrating the life of

Melba McAllister Priestley

November 18, 1932 - August 06, 2022

Melba McAllister Priestley

Melba McAllister Priestley, wife of the late Robert Edward Priestley, died August 6, 2022 at home after a brief illness.

Born in Montgomery County, Georgia,on November 18, 1932, Melba was the only child of the late Duncan and Etheleene D. McAllister.  She earned her BS in Education at Georgia Teachers College (now known as Georgia Southern University) and  received her MS in Education from Armstrong State University (now Georgia Southern University).  She retired in 1991 after 32 years of teaching.  In those 32 years, she touched the lives of hundreds of students in Washington, DC, and in Jeff Davis and Chatham Counties in Georgia.

After retirement, Melba continued to be an education advocate as a life member of Professional Association of Georgia Educators and Georgia Retired Educators Association.  She was a 58-year member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international organization of women educators, dedicated to educational excellence, altruism, and world understanding. She served as president of Savannah’s Alpha Gamma Chapter, Georgia State President (1984-1986), and International President (1995-1997).  Melba traveled all over North America for Alpha Delta Kappa as she continued to support the education profession. She deeply valued the friends and lifelong friendships she made through this organization.

She was a member of the Wilmington Island Garden Club. She had a passion for flowers, traveling, reading, cooking, and loved to spend time with family and friends.  Although she traveled to numerous foreign countries she proudly proclaimed she was blessed to have enjoyed the incredible beauty of all 50 of the United Staes.

Melba remained loyal to Georgia Southern University as a Life member of the Alumni Association. In addition to her academic pursuits and her service to her community, Melba loved sports. She was an avid fan of the Georgia Southern Eagles.

Described by her friends as a true “Southern Lady,” Melba was a kind and thoughtful Christian, and her faith was central to who she was.  Throughout her life, she lived her faith by deeds, not words. She was a member of Wilmington Island United Methodist Church, where she served as president of the United Methodist Women and served on numerous church committees.  Beginning in her youth, she was a devoted church worker, never hesitating to take leadership roles and to teach in her member church. As a champion of the less fortunate, she was a long-time volunteer for Meals on Wheels and in the Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald Family Room at Memorial Hospital.

Melba was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years Robert Priestley and son Russell Priestley.The memories she created as a mother, grandmother, educator, and friend will continue to sustain us for the rest of our lives. Left to celebrate her life and memory are son, Rob Priestley of Twin City; granddaughters Rachael Priestley (Brian Methot) of Lilburn, GA, and Allyson Priestley (Sam Hoover) of Port Tobacco, MD; great grandchildren Colin, Abigail, and Eleanor; a number of cousins, and devoted friend Sharon Broyles of Lilburn, GA.

Melba's family would like to thank the caring staff at Memorial Medical Center, Hospice Savannah, and Coastal Care for their wonderful support and loving care.  Thanks, too, to her many friends and neighbors who offered assistance and support. And many thanks to the Agape Circle at Wilmington Island United Methodist Church for providing
lunches and dinners during Melba's illness.  As Melba would say: it was God at work sending the right people to give what she needed when she needed.

The family invites friends to meet at Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors on Hwy 80E on Whitemarsh Island between 5pm and 7pm on Friday, August 12, 2022. A Celebration of life will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at Wilmington Island United Methodist Church with Rev. Douglas Walker officiating. Burial will follow in Greenwich Cemetery.

Those wishing to make memorials may do so to the Melba Priestley Scholarship at Alpha Delta Kappa Foundation, 1615 W 92nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64187-0567 to assist students majoring in education to enter teaching careers or educators seeking additional degrees.



She was such a grand lady. She will be missed by all who knew her in Alpha Delta Kappa! Especially those of us who really knew her personally. I was honored to be elected to the International Executive Board and that’s how we became friends.

- Patrice Ludwig , Warren, Michigan

Melba was a friend, a sister, and a mentor to me. Knowing her through Alpha Delta Kappa brought me great joy, much love, and a since of being with an honorable, gentle lady. Thank you, sweet Melba. Faithfully, Paula

- Paula O’Neill, Richardson , Texas

I met Melba in Alpha Delta Kappa. Many times Melba, Dot Youngblood Marie Woodward and I would drive to different states for meetings and conferences. While stopping at a stoplight a man rolled down his truck window and yelled to us "are you the Golden Girls?" That name stuck. Anytime we traveled we called ourselves the Golden Girls but none of us admitted to being Blanche. I will miss this wonderful lady and sister. What a beautiful role-model and friend. God bless you all.

- Debbie Clark , Metter, GA

Melba was such a special person to many. Melba saw the Leadership in me before I did and I'm sure this is true for so many. Melba will leave a vacant place in so many lives. God Bless our sweet angel.

- Linda Rissel, SEASIDE PARK, New Jersey

I met Melba through a mutual Alpha Delta Kappa sister! She was gracious and kind and I knew immediately how special she was! Our loss is heaven’s gain! Fly high, precious sister!

- Judy Barnhill, Franklin, TN

I had the honor of serving as Executive Board Chairman when Melba was International President. We planned the 50th anniversary convention together and have been very close friends ever since. We will all miss her so much.

- Jeannine Seagren, Wheat Ridge, CO

Melba and I served on International Chapter from 1993-1997. She was Grand President and I was Grand Chaplain for our Golden Abbivetsary in 1997 in Kansas City. I just visited with Melba on July 13. 2022, during the Gulf Region Conference. She was special to many of us. She will be missed.

- Betty Jo Evers, Chandler, Arizona

To Melba's family: I am so sorry for your loss. Melba was at peace during her last days. Melba, Gilda and I got to go on some wonderful trips together. She was a remarkable person and will be greatly missed.

- Carol Ogle, Pooler, GA

She was a dear lady that will be missed greatly. Thank you for sharing your mother/grandmother with all of us in Alpha Delta Kappa.

- Donna Bailey, Highland Village, TX

She was a dear lady that will be missed greatly. Thank you for sharing your mother/grandmother with all of us in Alpha Delta Kappa.

- Donna Bailey, Highland Village, TX

She was a dear lady that will be missed greatly. Thank you for sharing your mother/grandmother with all of us in Alpha Delta Kappa.

- Donna Bailey, Highland Village, TX

We met Melba when our son Brian and her granddaughter Rachael married. She was a dear lady who handled the sorrows and disappointments life gave her as well as life’s blessings. Lovely lady who gave so much of herself. She’ll be missed.

- Sue and Rick Methot, Hamilton, NJ

Melba was a very special person. I served as LA state president when she was the International President and on the Fine Arts Grants Board when she was Immediate Past President. She was a great mentor. My husband and I enjoyed many wonderful times with Melba and Bob at conferences all over the USA. She will always be remembered fondly by both James and me.

- James and Virginia Rigdon, Shreveport, LA

I was privileged to know Melba as an Alpha Delta Kappa sister. She added blessings to my life through her caring, helpful leadership. I am so grateful that I got to see her at our recent Gulf Conference--she will be very missed by many of us (especially her Gulf sisters). My deepest condolences to her loved ones both family, friends, and Alpha Delta Kappa sisters.

- Joan Tatum, Sarasota, Florida

Melba was a Christian, leader, sister and friend., Her many Florida sisters came to know and love her. I recall the great times we had at the Georgia Fun Days. She always shared her wit and wisdom. Thank you Melba. Faithfully, Carol

- Careol Reynolds-Fidelis Rho, Lakeland, Florida

Melba was one of a kind! She was strong Christian who faced death with a peaceful attitude and brought joy to those who cared for and visited her. She lead a very successful life giving her all to church, her family and education. Her educational sorority, Alpha Delta Kappa,meant so much to her. She gave generously of her time and talents. She will be missed by many.

- Vivian Sullivan, Pooler,, Ga.

She taught me at Pooler Elementary many years ago. She was my favorite teacher because she read to us every day after lunch. She is one of the main reasons I love reading to this day and I always think of her fondly.

- Julie N Sutlive, Savannah, GA

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Islands Chapel