Melba Jenkins Hinds

August 8, 1918 ~ October 14, 2020 (age 102)



Melba Jenkins Hinds was born in Nephi, Utah, on August 8, 1918, just as World War I was ending. Her parents, Richard Heber Jenkins (known as Heber) and Pearl Painter, were both children of Mormon pioneers that settled the valley. Heber had been drafted and was in the next group to be sent to Europe to fight had the war not ended. Melba was raised in Nephi, the third of five children - two brothers, Verle and Lynn, and two sisters, Grace and Miriam. When Melba was 32 years old, her brother Verle passed away suddenly. He was just 38 years old. Grace, Lynn, Miriam and Melba were always very close and supported each other through their individual struggles throughout their lives. The girls were teasingly known as the smart one, the pretty one and the little one. Growing up, happy times were spent on the various farms where her father worked. Melba said, ”Grace read the books, and I enjoyed working with my mother in the kitchen.”

A tragic fire destroyed the crops and machinery on the first farm Heber owned. After the disaster, Heber had a nervous breakdown and became incapacitated for 5 years, throwing the family into poverty. During these difficult times, the family pulled together. Melba graduated from Juab High School in 1936 and then attended Brigham Young Academy in Provo the following year. However, she left school after a year because her mother was taking in boarders to keep Melba in school. She did not want her mother to bear this burden so returned home and got a job as a telephone operator for Mountain States Telephone Co. Her office was in a small room above the local drug store/soda bar.

Melba was home one day when a prospective boarder came to call, a handsome, 37-year-old bridge engineer who had a project near Nephi. Pearl opened the door as Melba quickly hid behind it. Pearl listened to the prospective boarder while Melba signaled to her mother not to rent the room. Pearl ignored her and rented the room over her objections. That man was Reginald Ernest Dobbs Sr.

The USA entered WWII in 1941. Melba was now working in Salt Lake City. She was then transferred to the Air Force base in Wendover, Nevada. She had a fun life at the base and made lifelong friends.
Melba and Reg Sr continued to correspond and eventually traveled to Ely, Nevada, where they were married on March 6, 1943. Reginald Ernest Dobbs Jr, known as Reggie, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 5, 1944.

During their marriage, Reg Sr had frequent assignments to travel, building bridges for the state of Utah. When he left, Melba and Reggie would stay with her parents in Nephi. Reg Sr moved the family to Price, Utah, as he had a 2-year assignment building a large flood diversion project there. This is where their second child, Jana Lee Dobbs, was born October 18, 1951. Unfortunately, their 8-year tumultuous marriage endured many hardships and ended in 1952. In the same year, Melba’s father died in a tragic electrical accident at work, leaving her 60-year-old mother a widow.

Now Melba and Pearl were both alone. Lynn, who was single, offered to have them come to Arcadia, California, and live with him. Six-year-old Reggie and infant Jana were taken care of by Grandma Pearl while Melba and Lynn worked. Melba worked demanding hours, leaving for work at 5:30am for the hour commute to the telephone company in downtown Los Angeles and not returning until after 6:30pm at night. The three adults pooled their money to make ends meet. They made a happy family, and Lynn was a great father figure to the kids and confidant for Melba. They moved numerous times in California as well as to Mesa, Arizona, and back to California. When they moved back from Arizona, Lynn found employment in another part of California, leaving Melba, Grandma Jenkins, Reggie and Jana to make it on their own.

In 1960, Melba married again and moved the family to Whittier, California, where they experienced living in a nice home that was not an apartment. She worked for America Savings in order to provide missionary support for Reg Jr. The marriage ended in 1967 shortly after Reg Jr returned from his mission to Uruguay. Reg Jr married Karalee Benge in August of that year and went to college. Melba and Jana again experienced apartment living. Melba upgraded her earning skills by taking a yearlong medical assistant course that allowed her to get employment with a local dermatologist. She worked there for 13 years until her retirement in 1980. She enjoyed that job but was always doing side jobs such as selling bras and Tupperware in order to make ends meet. In 1981, she moved to Denver for a year to be close to Jana who was now married and had two small children.

In 1981, she married Harold Hinds who was living in Placentia, California. Later, they bought a home in Costa Mesa, California. She loved Costa Mesa and had a lovely home that she enjoyed sharing with her family. It was there that she had some of the most enjoyable times of her life, helping Jana take care of Chris and Tracy, Jana’s children, while Jana worked as a flight attendant. Melba loved being with the children and was sad when they left when Jana married Ray Dupree in 1986. After Jana and her family moved to Texas, Melba enjoyed having her granddaughters, Natalie and Alison, stay with her for a period of time. She was generous with her substance and helped her grandchildren. Melba was easy for the kids to talk to and fun to be around. She enjoyed participating with them in singing and dancing in her home. She liked to take her 9 grandchildren shopping and out to eat. She loved having her family come to visit. Harold was very patient in having the children come and stay for extended periods of time.

Melba became ill in 2000, and Harold recognized the need for family help. Reg and Harold talked and decided to move them to Las Vegas to be close to Reg’s family. They lived in a comfortable home next to the golf course in a senior community. Melba enjoyed working at the LDS temple there. While in Las Vegas, seeing Harold and Melba’s health failing, Lynn agreed to come to live with them. He was a great uplift to all as he had a very organized and fun way about him. He was their chauffer, and both Harold and Melba much enjoyed his company.

In 2005, Reg and Karalee moved to Meridian, Idaho. Realizing that health for the three seniors was failing, Reg and Karalee moved them to Meridian into a home next door that Reg built for them. Lynn and Harold did not get to enjoy the home for long, as both Lynn and Harold passed away unexpectedly in 2007.

Melba loved her home and wanted to stay there, so Chris, Jana’s son, moved in to provide support while attending college. Melba was able to stay in her home until 2011, when it was determined that she needed more help and moved into Serenity Assisted living in Emmett. She had a friend there in Vera Benge, Karalee’s mother. In 2014, Melba moved to The Cottages (for memory care) in Boise to be closer to her children. She received great care there from loving staff until her death on October 14, 2020.

Grandma, or Nanny as some of the grandchildren called her, was a caring and generous woman all her life. She never said an unkind word about anyone. She was always very appreciative whatever small thing that you would do for her, even during the years she had severe dementia. She made everyone she met feel that she loved them.

Melbas is survived by her son Reg Dobbs (Karalee), her daughter Jana Dupree (Ray), 9 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.

Click here to view a webcast of the service on 10/24/2020 at 12:55 PM, Mountain Standard Time.

To send flowers to Melba's family, please visit our floral store.


October 24, 2020

12:30 PM to 1:00 PM
Relyea Funeral Chapel
318 North Latah St
Boise, ID 83706
Guaranteed delivery before the Visitation begins

October 24, 2020

1:00 PM
Relyea Funeral Chapel
318 North Latah St
Boise, ID 83706
Guaranteed delivery before the Service begins

This event will be live-streamed


Vine Bluff Cemetery
1200 N. 400 E.
Nephi, UT 84648

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