Melba Annette Penning was born September 20, 1931 at the farm home in Baudette Township, Baudette, MN. Parents were Victor and Ebba (Borgeson) Mollberg.  Her sister Mildred, 19 at the time, was present at her birth and assisted the prep nurse in her birth. She joined her five brothers, Malcolm, Melfred, Melvin, Milton and Marvin. She was baptized October 17, 1931 and confirmed in the Lutheran Faith.

Melba graduated from Baudette High School in 1949 and attended the University of Minnesota from 1949 to 1951. On May 31, 1952 she married William (Bill) Penning of Pipestone, MN, whom she met at the U of M St. Paul Campus.

Six children were born to the couple. She loved being a mother and loved her children very much. They have been a blessing.

She was active in both Trinity and presently Zion Lutheran Church. She was a former Sunday school teacher at Trinity and active in Circle and Lutheran Church Women at both Zion and Trinity.

Melba loved music and sang in both choirs and in a trio called the “Mothers Three” with Jan Peterson and Jan Lindblom. Was on the Concert Assn Board and served as its president for several years. Also a former member of Zehlians Womens Club and participated in Art Adventure in elementary school. She was also a 4H Leader.

As the children grew older Melba worked part time for Pennington County Soil Conservation as District Clerk and latter at Green Funeral Home as Secretary.

She and Bill moved to Thief River Falls in 1953 when Bill was hired as County Extension Agent. In 1957 the couple moved to Elbow Lake, Grant County where he was Extension Agent from 1957 to 1960. In 1960 they moved back to Thief River Falls when Bill became Area Agent in Farm Management.

In 1992 they retired to Venture Out, an RV park in Mesa, AZ. In Mesa, Melba sang in the Venture Out Choir, a trio and in park musical programs. Helped in weekly worship at Venture Out.

She is survived by her loving husband Bill of Thief River Falls; six children Deborah & (Jim) Nelson of Little Falls, MN; Richard (Dick) & Linda Penning of Moorhead, MN; Paula & (Barry) Newton of Thief River Falls, MN; Carol & (Murray) Melander of Woodbury, MN; David & (Dawn Marie) Penning of Park Rapids, MN; Grant & (Lynn) Penning of Mpls, MN; seventeen grandchildren Michael, Christina (Kyle), Lindsay, Kimberly (Nate), Kayla (Ben), Kelly (Jamie), Ann (Jeff), Brian, Laura (Chad), Matthew, Derek (Jess), Joseph (Rebecca), Kyja (Ryan), Severin (Kes), Isaac (Jamie), Olivia (Aaron), Tovah (fiancé Brandon); eighteen great-grandchildren Aurora, Tyler, Katelyn, Bailey, Will, Addy, Max, Oliver, Mia, Callen, Eleanor, Gloria, Sevy Jr., Nora, Lucas, Roxy, Allison, Zach; and many other relatives and friends.

Preceded in death by her parents; sister; and brothers.

Melba Penning, 89 of Thief River Falls, MN passed away peacefully on Monday, August 23, 2021 at home with her loving family at her side.

The service to celebrate Melba’s life will be at 2:00 PM on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN with Rev. Ale Tulu officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.

The family would like to thank Hospice of the Red River Valley for their loving care, kindness and friendship to Melba and her family. Memorials are suggested to Hospice of the Red River Valley.