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home : obituaries : obituaries Saturday, December 16, 2017

11/27/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
Frances Dale Elwood Melvold
Frances Dale Elwood Melvold, 94, of Maquoketa died Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, at Clover Ridge Place in Maquoketa, from complications of dementia.

Her body was donated to science at the University of Iowa Carver School of Medicine in Iowa City.

A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, at Maquoketa United Church of Christ, with the Rev. Stephanie Haskins officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at Carson Celebration of Life Center in Maquoketa, and from 9:30 a.m. to service time Jan. 11 at the church.

Frances was born Aug. 28, 1923, in Elma, the first of four children born to Francis Dale and Marian Lucretia George Elwood. She grew up in Cresco, Iowa, and graduated from Cresco High School. She attended the University of Iowa. She taught school in Norway, Iowa, for about two years during World War II.

On Feb. 19, 1944, she married Navy Lt. Cmdr. Robert Thomson Melvold of Cresco in the chapel of the U.S. Naval Base in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was stationed at the time during World War II.

After his discharge from active duty at the end of World War II, the couple embarked on their dream of owning and operating a community newspaper, and searched for a newspaper to acquire. On May 1, 1946, they bought the weekly Maquoketa Community Press. Thus began a partnership in the community newspaper and commercial printing businesses that continued for nearly 60 years, until her husband's death in 2005.

On Jan. 1, 1952, they bought the rival Jackson Sentinel and merged the two newspapers into twin weeklies and, later, into a semiweekly. They acquired the DeWitt Observer in 1954, the Galena, Illinois, Gazette in 1961, and the Bellevue Herald-Leader in 1972. Together with their partner in DeWitt, Robert Parrott, they founded The North Scott Press in 1968. They were active members of the Iowa Newspaper Association and were Heritage Club members of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.

They also spun off the commercial printing activity of the Maquoketa newspapers in the 1950s and formed a separate company, Eastern Iowa Printing Co., later reorganized in 1973 as Tri-State Graphics. Frances was involved in the management of that business, which at one time had sales offices in all of the affiliated newspapers and operated quick-print shops in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids. She and her husband also owned a printing business, Englewood Print Center, for several years in Englewood, Florida.

Frances was active in Maquoketa United Church of Christ, serving as Sunday school superintendent for many years and holding state-level positions in the church.  She served on the Iowa Vocational Education Advisory Board, including a year as chair, as an appointee of Gov. Robert Ray.

She worked to provide services to people with disabilities, and was instrumental in the founding of Area Residential Care in Dubuque and of the Jackson County Developmental Activity Center, later known as DAC Inc. and now Imagine the Possibilities, which serves individuals with disabilities.

She also was instrumental in the formation of the Jackson County Volunteers organization, which provided volunteer help to many organizations and projects. She was instrumental in starting the annual Thanksgiving Day community dinner. She was a 60-year-plus member and past president of Chapter BX of PEO Sisterhood in Maquoketa.

She held strong views on political issues and social causes. She actively supported causes for world peace, social justice, disarmament, and conservation. She joined marches in Chicago during the civil rights movement, and was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.

She was an advocate of conservation of natural resources. She and her husband completed the Master Conservationist course through Iowa State University Extension. She was an active member of the Democratic Party.

She enjoyed reading and playing bridge, and took up golf with her husband in their later years.

She enjoyed spending winters with her husband and friends at Boca Grande, Florida, where they owned a condominium for nearly 30 years. She also enjoyed family houseboat trips on the Mississippi River, and summer family vacations at resorts on lakes in northwest Wisconsin. She and her husband took several trips abroad in their later years. Most of all, she enjoyed family gatherings for any occasion.

She resided in her home until April 2017, when she moved to Clover Ridge Place.

Survivors include three sons, Douglas (Mary) and John (Mary McAllister), all of Maquoketa, and Robert "R.B." (Beth) of Park Falls, Wisconsin; three daughters, Miriam (Mrs. William) Brown of Iowa City, Dr. Janis (Mrs. David Pesetsky) Melvold of Lexington, Massachusetts, and Annette Sohl of Maquoketa; six grandsons, Tim (Hillary) Melvold of Peosta, Tyler Sohl of Portland, Oregon, Noah Brown of Brookline, Massachusetts, Benjamin Pesetsky of Somerville, Massachusetts, Jonathan Pesetsky of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Jacob Melvold of Orlando, Florida; two granddaughters, Emily (Mrs. Levi) McClimon of Waverly, and Rachel (Mrs. Eric) Manson of Maquoketa; a great-grandson, Landon Melvold of Peosta; two great-granddaughters, Valerie and Tessa McClimon of Waverly; a brother, Henry (Carol) Elwood of Cresco; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 61 years on Oct. 28, 2005; a sister, Mildred Butler; and a brother, George Elwood.

Memorials may be given to Maquoketa United Church of Christ, Jackson County Conservation Board, or Community Foundation of Jackson County.

The family expresses special appreciation to the staffs of Home Instead, Clover Ridge Place, and Hospice of Jackson County for their attentive care to Frances during the final stages of her life.

Online condolences may be left at carsonandson.com


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