Melva Josephine Sexton, age 93, passed away at Brookdale Senior Living, Glen Ellyn, IL on August 2, 2022. She was born at St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, IL on July 3, 1929 to Otto T. and Pauline (Hemp) Rentschler. Melva Jo graduated from Tri-City High School, Buffalo, IL in 1947. She subsequently earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Northwestern University, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Illinois. On July 5, 1952, she married her high school sweetheart, Forrest W. “Mike” Sexton, at the Methodist Church in Dawson, IL.
Melva Jo had a distinguished career teaching vocal music in the Taylorville school system (1951-1957) and the Rochester school system (1958-1991). Following her retirement, she was an adjunct professor of music education at Millikin University for two years.
Melva Jo fervently believed that music is vital to a well-rounded education and she tirelessly worked to promote music as an integral part of the school curriculum. Through her dedication and passion for teaching, she made a difference in the lives of many. Ever eager to share her enthusiasm for music, upon moving to Brookdale Senior Living, Melva Jo helped organize a residents choir and served as its first director. In addition, she often played the piano in the communal area before dinner to the delight of residents and staff alike.
Melva Jo was a lifelong Methodist. She was an accomplished pianist, an earnest if not always successful cook, and a loving and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother.
She is survived by her son, Michael (Elizabeth) Sexton; granddaughter, Katherine Sexton Rupert; great granddaughter, Lena Elizabeth Rupert, all of Wheaton, IL; sister-in-law, Marilyn Rentschler; brother-in-law, Charles Sexton; several nieces and nephews; and cherished first cousin, Mary Alice Taft.
She was preceded in death by her parents; Mike, her husband of 65 years; and her brother, Fred Rentschler.
A private graveside service will be held at Mechanicsburg Cemetery.
Donations in Melva Jo’s memory may be directed to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.
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