Cover photo for Melba Sykes's Obituary
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1930 Melba 2021

Melba Sykes

August 18, 1930 — January 23, 2021


Melba Lorene (Preston) Sykes was born in the tiny hamlet of Hale Center TX on Monday, August 18, 1930, to Arnett Carey (A.C.) and Docia Fay Preston and was welcomed into the arms of her loving Savior on Saturday afternoon, January 23, 2021. Her life of 90 and one-half years was marked only by measles as a toddler and mumps when she was in her mid-twenties until dementia in her eighties was accelerated by a very brief covid diagnosis in late 2020.

She was a wonderful wife to Abbott B. (Hap) Sykes, until his passing in December 2012. She was the best mother a daughter or son could ever have. Her children were extremely blessed to call her Mom and Mother.

Having been raised in Big Spring TX, Melba married Hap in October 1951, and they established their home in Big Spring until they moved to Odessa, TX in 1959. By then, their daughter and oldest of three sons were born to them; in Odessa they would have two more sons.

Melba was supportive in all her children’s activities and with their father continued a giving ministry in support of spreading God’s Word throughout the world that began in the very early days of their marriage. At her passing, she was continuing to tithe to not only her church, Grace Christian Fellowship, but also to a dozen other ministries around the world. For many years, she was active with Women’s Aglow Fellowship (now Aglow International). About 10 years ago she provided the entire funding to drill a desperately needed water well in the African country of Zambia. At about the same time, she also fully funded a mobile radio transmitter in the Middle East so that many people groups there could hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Melba was generous not only to the many ministries she supported, but she was also very generous to her family that she loved very much.

Melba’s church family and her extended church family were also an important part of her life as she was active with the seniors and care group as well as a home Bible study in Midland. Until the dementia began to become more dominant in her life, one would see Melba’s little blue Honda FIT in her special parking spot every Sunday and could then find Melba in her own particular seat in the sanctuary.

Just before she passed out of this earthly life, her children and beloved son-in-law gathered at her bedside to sing two of her favorite hymns, “It Is Well (with My Soul)” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” At the last chorus, she entered eternity to meet her Savior and those dear ones who had gone ahead of her. We praise the Lord for her life that was so well lived.

Melba is preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Abbott B (Hap) Sykes; her middle son, Stephen Preston Sykes of Odessa, TX; two of her three siblings – her sister, Quepha Lewis of Springfield, MO and her brother, Carl Preston of Abilene, TX; and her parents, A.C and Docia Preston of Big Spring, TX.

Melba is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Judy and John Dalton of Cloudcroft, NM; her two sons, Barry of Odessa, TX and Nathan of Providence, RI. Her remaining sibling, an older sister, Margie Weller, resides in Denver, CO. Mom is also survived by her granddaughters, Stephanie and Ken Miller of Fort Worth, TX and Jessica and Calvin Wiggins of Roanoke, TX; her grandson, Michael and Nikki Dalton of Woodland Park, Colorado; and five great-grandchildren, Rowan Hines, Calvin Wiggins Jr. (CJ), and Zane, Eisley and Ella Dalton. She also leaves behind many dear friends in Odessa and beyond who blessed her life immensely as we know she also enriched theirs.

Melba’s family would like to thank her former pastor and now hospice chaplain, Clark Racca; the attentive staff and case workers with Hospice of Midland; and the staff and management of The Courtyards Assisted Living and Memory Care, where Melba enjoyed the last three years of her life. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be designated to Youth Ministry/Grace Christian Fellowship, 3450 Billy Hext Rd, Odessa TX 79765.

A celebration of Melba’s life will be on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 1:00 pm in the sanctuary of Grace Christian Fellowship. Burial will follow this celebration with a graveside service at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Arrangements are entrusted to Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home.  To send condolences, please sign her guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Melba Sykes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

Grace Christian Fellowship

3450 Billy Hext Rd, Odessa, TX 79765

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Interment following funeral service

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

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