Avalon Ruth, older daughter of J.A. (Joe) and Edna (Artman) Bonebrake, was born July 10, 1924, in what is believed to be the first stone house built in Ash Rock Township, Rooks County, Kansas. From there they moved to the Hale Place, and then around 1940 moved to the Vanderlip Place, all in Ash Rock Township.
Avalon’s first through eighth grade education was attained at District Union 4, to which she walked with her older brother Case, and then her younger sister Gladys unless the weather was really inclement. She then attended Woodston Rural High School from which she graduated in 1942.
Avalon attended Fort Hays State College for the school year 1942-1943, where she enjoyed taking voice lessons. While not attending classes, she worked as a “soda jerk” and shelf stocker at a drug store. On October 10, 1943, Avalon was united in marriage to Frank Elvin Melton at the United Brethren Church, Woodston. Their first home was on the Riley place northwest of Woodston. In 1951 they moved to the Thompson place where their eight children were reared.
Avalon not only was a housewife, but also assisted with farming when needed. She especially enjoyed spring-tooth harrowing. During wheat harvest, she provided meals to the field, but when necessary, would drive the grain truck, or go to town to pick up repair parts. When Elvin entered the dairy business in 1969, she became a dairywoman. This became her fulltime occupation upon Elvin’s death in August 1974. She was very proud of the “loafing shed” she had built to provide shelter for the dairy cows.
Gardening was also a source of pride, as fresh vegetables were available for meals during the summer, with extra produce being canned for use in the winter. Flowers were also part of the “garden” landscape: irises, gladiolas, tulips, zinnias, hollyhocks, and cosmos.
As a member of the United Methodist Church (formerly United Brethren then the Evangelical United Brethren Church), Avalon taught Sunday School and Bible School, directed the Children’s Choir, played the piano and organ, served as a lay delegate to the Kansas West General Conference, served on the Lord’s Acre Sale committee, and was a member of the United Methodist Women.
In 1978, when Avalon “retired” from dairying, she moved to Stockton where she embarked upon another occupation—clerk in the Rooks County Appraisers’ office, an ideal job as she could just walk across the street and be at work.
Throughout these years, Avalon traveled, first with Elvin, then by herself, and then with family members. She attended Central States Division of Mid-America Dairyman Conferences with Elvin, visited family, attended family reunions, and even flew to Germany when her youngest daughter was married. States to which she has been include: Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas.
Avalon was predeceased by her parents J.A. and Edna Bonebrake, her husband Elvin, a daughter-in-law, Connie (Chesney) Melton; a son-in-law, Everett Lowry; and a granddaughter, Melanie (Rubottom) Yeamans.
She is survived by her sons, Steven (Linda) Melton and Sterling (Sheila) Melton; her daughters, Avonne (Darrell) Rubottom, Muriel (Herbert) Morgenthaler, Janie (George) Hieger, Rebecca Lowry, Coral (Jon) Allen, and Crystal (Cai) Ramhorst; 24 grandchildren; 55 greatgrandchildren; her brother Case Bonebrake and her sister Gladys Ashcraft; and many nieces and nephews.
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