The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Melba Jean Barbera


IRONWOOD, Mich. - Melba Jean Barbera, 87, of Ironwood, passed away Thursday morning, June 12, 2014, with her adoring family at her side.

Melba was born on Sept. 6, 1926, in Picher, Okla., a daughter of James and Ina (Herd) Loftin.

She was raised in California, where she met the love of her life, Joe Barbera, who was serving in the U.S. Army stationed in San Francisco. On Jan. 5, 1944, they were married in San Francisco, and were blessed with more than 60 years of marriage. Soon after their wedding, the young couple moved to Joe's hometown of Hurley, Wis.

For more than 40 years, they owned and operated a family business, Joe's Pasty Shop and Drive-In, in Ironwood.

Melba loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, who were the light of her life. Her hobbies included duplicate bridge and traveling. She was an excellent cook and made special meals for family and friends.

Melba was a wonderful listener, loved animals and was a generous, compassionate lady who was always willing to help others. She will hold a special place in all of our hearts forever.

Melba is survived by three daughters, Patti Santini, Ironwood, Jeanne (John) Kasmarick, La Quinta, Calif., and Linda Chartier, Kenosha, Wis .; two sons, Joe (Barb), Ironwood, and James (Marian), Traverse City; 15 grandchildren, William Talaska, Campbellsport, Wis., Patrick Santini, West Bend, Wis., Carrie (Stephen) Spratt, Canton, Ga., Amy (Jeff) Petoskey, La Quinta, Stacy Kasmarick, Carlsbad, Calif., Kristin Pendleton and Tara Chartier, both of Kenosha, Joey Barbera, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Brad Barbera, Ann Arbor, and James, Tia, Mary, Timothy, Nathan and Matthew Barbera, all of Traverse City; seven great-grandchildren, Cory, Noah, Camryn, Cade, Samantha, Aria and Iris; her cherished sister and brother, Raynee (Tom) Fowler and Jim (Shelly) Loftin, both of California, her brother-in-law, Frank Barbera, Ironwood; numerous nieces and nephews; and other loving relatives.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband, Joe, on Sept. 24, 2004; an infant son, Timothy, in 1960; a grandson, Bobby Talaska, in 1971; a brother, Bill (Betty) Loftin; and two brothers-in-law and two sisters-in-law, John Barbera, Peter "Red" (Mary) Barbera and Rita Barbera.

Per her wishes, a private family service will be held at Riverside Cemetery, Ironwood.

Arrangements are under the direction of Lakeside Memorial Chapel, Wakefield, Jerald Rocco, manager. Condolences may be expressed online at


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