Melba J. (Phillips) Acheson

Melba J. (Phillips) Acheson

June 4, 1940 – May 8, 2024

Melba Joyce (Phillips) Acheson was called to her heavenly home on May 8, 2024, after living her life for our Savior and Lord.  There she joins her parents, Merkel and Odessa (Proctor) Phillips; her sister, Martha Jean Elledge; and brother, Darrel Ray Phillips.

Born in Pampa, TX on June 4, 1940, she was raised in the Spring Creek community and finished high school at Borger High School, Borger, TX.

After high school, Melba attended Frank Phillips Junior College for one year before transferring to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX, to finish her BS in Education in 1962 and begin graduate studies.  While at Hardin-Simmons Melba was a member of the prestigious White Horse Riders, an exhibition team still active today which travels extensively throughout the United States.

While teaching at her alma mater after graduation, Melba met a young Air Force pilot trainee, Denny, who was stationed at Dyess AFB near Abilene.  The two were married in the base chapel on March 26, 1964, the evening before the great Alaskan earthquake in Anchorage which was to be the location of their first assignment together a month later.  This would be the first of 14 moves over the next 24 years.  In addition to raising two daughters, Melba continued her interest in education, substituting in local schools, working in local base education offices and advising military wives groups. She led several children’s choirs at the base chapels which was near to her heart. It served as training for her daughters as well as serving her local church. While stationed at Kincheloe AFB, in Michigan, she made time to earn her Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Central Michigan University in 1977.

In 1987, Melba returned to work as an academic advisor, then as a career counselor at Bellevue University. From 1990 until retiring in 2005, she continued as an academic advisor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the College of Continuing Studies, both on campus and at the Offutt AFB Education Center.

After retirement Melba spent time traveling to visit her daughters around the US and in Australia after Melissa married a Royal Australian Air Force pilot, Philip J. Beanland.  She enjoyed her Bible study group, maintaining connections with friends far and wide (especially her dear neighbors), gardening, sewing and quilting, but most of all she cherished her time spent with her two grandchildren.

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Col. (USAF Ret) Densel K. (Denny) Acheson; daughters, Dr. Marrisa Jean Acheson, Ph.D and Melissa Joyce (Acheson) Beanland; son-in-law, Wing Commander (Royal Australian Air Force Ret), Philip John Beanland; grandchildren, Jack Densel Beanland and Melina Joyce Beanland; and sister-in-law, Dixie Jean Phillips.  Additionally, she is survived by her in-laws, Claudia Sue Petersen, Patti Lou and Dennis Franklin Frist; as well as six nephews, three nieces and their families.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Densel K. & Melba J. Acheson Student Enrichment Fund, University of Nebraska-Omaha.

VISITATION: Monday, May 20th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., West Center Chapel, followed by a CELEBRATION OF LIFE: at 3:00 p.m.  GRAVESIDE SERVICE: Friday, May 24th at Memory Gardens in Pampa, Texas.

To view a live broadcast of the Celebration of Life, please visit and click the “Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.


  • Becky and Jeffrey Johnson Posted May 13, 2024 5:33 pm

    Melba’s was such a dear beautiful women. She had so much grace and compassion for everyone. Bessie our friendship we also worked together and we taught me so much about the work world. We were also military wife’s and we shared this beautiful bond. I love you Melba. ! I will always remember the sweet gma she was and all her stories of her grandkids. She loved her daughters so very much and always shared how proud she was of them. Denny and Melba showed their fun loving side when were we together. Always loved and never forgotten.

  • Teresa Jean (Cassel) Woods Posted May 14, 2024 10:12 pm

    It is so hard to say goodbye to our earthly loved ones. Sissy’s faith was a light for all who knew her especially all her cousins and those of us seconds cousins privileged to know her and her siblings in their teen years. My prayers are with her immediate family. We will be reunited in our Lord’s time. His bless you Denny, your daughters, and the grandchildren.

  • David and Heather Beanland Posted May 16, 2024 8:13 pm

    Our hearts go out to our Omaha family as we give thanks for the life of Melba Acheson Her faith, love of family especially the two grandchildren we share Jack and Melina, was always evident. A life well lived, now with the Lord. We are unable to be present but will be with you all.

  • Dixie Phillips Posted May 20, 2024 4:57 am

    Dear Denny, Lissa, Missy, my heart is with you today for the celebration of your mom’s wonderful life. She was one of a kind and beautiful inside and out. Shan and Cade will be there for themselves and because of their dad Darrell, your mom’s little brother. I think this morning of the three of them , Jean, Sis, and Darrell together with the Lord and their precious Mom and Dad. What a reunion!!
    Looking forward to seeing you at the graveside here in Texas. Praying for you all today, and will be with you online. Praying the peace that passes understanding for you as you truly celebrate her life, well lived! Love, Aunt Dixie

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