Mrs. Melanie Leora Parkhurst, 96, wife of the late Edwin H. Parkhurst, Jr. and a resident of Pungoteague, VA, passed away Friday, April 1, 2022 at Commonwealth Senior Living on the Eastern Shore in Onancock, VA. Born August 12, 1925 in Ann Arbor, MI, she was the daughter of the late Louis M. Ruffins and Louise Marie Bucholz Ruffins.
In 1943, Melanie graduated from Ann Arbor High School, then attended Civil Defense Staff College in Battle Creek, MI. In 1944, at the young age of 19, she married her first love, Pfc. John G. Pappas of the U.S. Marine Corps, who later died in combat during World War II. In 1947, Melanie married John E. Schuck and relocated to Pasadena, CA, where her only child, Jon, was born. John and Melanie divorced in 1949, however she remained in California and worked as the administrative assistant to the President of Butler Brothers in Alhambra, CA, as well as owned and operated an antique interior decorator shop. She also earned certifications in jewelry, diamonds, colored stones display, and management from the Gemological Institute of America in Pasadena. Recognized in several jewelry magazines over the years, Melanie continued to share her expertise and passion for all things rare and sparkly throughout her life and was always donning her favorite pieces.
Eventually she would meet the true love of her life, Edwin H. Parkhurst Jr. She and Edwin were married on Christmas Eve in 1970, and soon after moved to Lancaster, PA, where Melanie became Director and Administrator of the Bowman Technical School and Secretary to the Treasurer of Ezra F. Bowman and Sons, Inc. The Parkhurst’s later purchased a second home in Accomac, VA and a vacation home on Chincoteague Island, VA. Upon Mr. Parkhurst’s death in 1991, Melanie continued to spend time between Pennsylvania and Virginia, keeping herself busy with her many hobbies and various community service projects.
Melanie was not only known for her knowledge and excellent taste in fine jewelry, but also for her dedication to restoring beauty to historic homes along Virginia and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, to include Tunstall Cottage, the oldest house in Princess Anne, MD. She was an avid antique collector with special interest in Oriental furniture; an automobile enthusiast and owner of many classics, including a 1935 Auburn that had been displayed in the Parksley Auto Museum; and a watch and clock hobbyist, a shared passion that brought she and Edwin together. Melanie was a life member of the University of Michigan Alumnus where her father taught metal casting and molding. She was also a life member of Somerset County Historical Society, as well as Lancaster County Historical Society, to whom she graciously donated Bowman Jewelry Store, along with many historical school items, when she closed the store and school in 1992.
In addition, Mrs. Parkhurst also served as a member, board member, or was an award recipient of many organizations to include: Lancaster Museum of Arts, Lancaster Heritage Center, lancasterhistory.org, Charles Demuth Foundation, Eastern Shore Yacht & Country Club, Eastern Shore Historical Society Museum, Eastern Shore of Virginia Barrier Islands Center, National Trust for Historical Preservation, Eastern Shore Railway Museum, The Salvation Army, Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Antique Auto Club of America, St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, St. George’s Church in Pungoteague, VA, listed in the jewelry industry’s “Who’s Who,” Making Lancaster Beautiful Award from Mayor Richard C. Scott, American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
Melanie’s community involvement and giving nature was incredibly extensive, leaving a legacy that rivals most and one that will continue to honor her name and memory forever.
Mrs. Parkhurst is survived by her son, Jon Anthony Schuck; stepchildren, William D. Parkhurst and his wife, Claudia, and Penelope Boehm and her husband, David; grandchildren, Jobe T. Schuck and his wife, Minzhy Fong, and Terra L. Hunter; step grandchildren, Peter Boehm, Jennifer Parkhurst, and Kley Parkhurst; great-grandchildren, Isabella and Isaac Schuck, Anthony Z. Hunter and Jaidyn L. Mets; step great-grandchildren, Kleyton Landis Parkhurst, Jr., Charlotte August Parkhurst, Madeline Myer Parkhurst, and Ella Goldkind; nieces, Sally Conner and her husband, Roger, and their children, Natalie Darden and John Logan Conner and wife Brandi, Laurie Kimmel and husband Michael and their son, Jon; nephews, James Ruffin and wife Gail and their son, Rodney, Robert A. Ruffins, and Edgar Crabb and his wife Judy.
In addition to her parents and husbands, Edwin and John, she was predeceased by the father of her son, John E. Schuck; brothers, Richard, Stanley, and Lewis Ruffins; half-brothers, James L. Crabb and Cpl. Alvis R. Crabb; and half-sisters, Phillis Crabb Miller, and Mildred Crab Carmichael.
A service in celebration of Mrs. Parkhurst’s life will be held at St. George’s Episcopal Church, in Pungoteague, VA, on Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 11:00 a.m., with The Reverend Philip Bjornberg officiating.
Contributions in her memory may be made to your choice of the countless charities she selflessly served for decades.
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements by the Williams Funeral Homes, Onancock, VA and Parksley, VA.