St. George, UT - Melva Joy Hebdon Henderlider passed away November 17, 2012, a few days prior to her 82nd birthday after a long, courageous battle with chronic pain and illness.
Joy was born November 28, 1930 to Lulu Mae Hunt and Truman Deward Hebdon, the 2nd eldest of 6 children. She married Robert K Cannon, 1948, divorced; married Ray Henderlider, 1981, widowed; married Jack Reese, 1999, divorced.
Growing up in depression era St George, UT, Joy did all the things that were expected of a woman of her generation: she was an obedient daughter, devoted sister, faithful wife, loving mother and grandmother; she was a marvelous cook and kept an immaculate house. But it is her many extraordinary accomplishments, unusual for both man and woman of any generation, that are the true measure of her life: She was a total tomboy, reveling in all sports and outdoor activities. As a 10th grader at Dixie High she surpassed all the boys and was awarded All Around Athlete of the year. Throughout her adulthood she played on many All Star teams, but especially loved tennis and softball. She won several trophies state wide in both singles and doubles tennis, and her prowess on the softball field earned her nicknames like "Home Run King", "Babe Ruth of the Loop" and "Racehorse Hebdon". Her varied vocations included gym teacher, nurse, and cable splicer for the phone company.
Later in life Joy focused her boundless energy on civic service. With tenacious determination she spearheaded the committee to restore the mining ghost town of Silver Reef, UT. Joy fought for government grants and raised funds for a complete restoration of many buildings there including the Wells Fargo Express building that now houses an art gallery and museum. After settling in Virgin, Utah she found another passion: to preserve and properly grow her beautiful little town. Her commitment and sense of duty led her to become the mayor of Virgin, a position she relished and held from 1994 to 1998.
When Joy was a child she was told she would perform great work, that she would be wise council for her fellowman, that she would hold positions of responsibility and be recognized for her leadership. She did all that and much more. She led an extraordinary life. She loved deeply and was greatly loved and widely respected, she will be terribly missed.
She is survived by daughter, Kathleen Snow; 2 grandchildren, Brandy and Jim Snow; 4 sisters, DeLue, Iris, Kay, Nelda and 1 brother, Truman.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, November 23, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 West St. George Blvd., St. George, UT. A visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. prior to services at the mortuary. Interment will be on Saturday, November 24 at Noon at the Enterprise City Cemetery in Enterprise, UT. Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, (435) 673-4221.