School 13

Melba Bass Petersen

November 4, 1930 ~ May 1, 2019 (age 88)



     Melba Bass Petersen passed away May 1, 2019.  Melba was born November 4, 1930 in Vilonia, Arkansas to the late Alvin (Sr.) and Ethel Bass.  Melba graduated from North Little Rock High School and obtained her undergraduate degree from Arkansas State Teachers’ College (UCA).  She earned a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Melba began her career teaching English in the North Little Rock Public School District, then spent sixteen years at home with her sons, before returning to the Pulaski Special School District as a Media Specialist.  She loved the library, the volumes of knowledge it contained and helping her students’ find and access that information.  There wasn’t a library Melba wasn’t willing to transform, whether at school or at church.  She was a member of both First United Methodist Church (Builders’ Class) and Lakewood United Methodist Church (George Martin Class), enjoyed teaching Sunday School, was an ardent supporter of Camp Aldersgate, and an active member of Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.).  Melba and Bob enjoyed traveling and became motorhome junkies for many years.  She loved her family and friends, and gave of herself, her gifts and talents, to make a difference for those she encountered. 

    Melba is preceded in death by her husband of 55 year, Robert (Bob) Gregg Petersen, her brother Thomas Virgil Bass and his wife Sue E Bass, brother Alvin Oscar Bass, Jr, sisters-in-law Barbara Huban (Pat, deceased) and Andrea Gillespie, and grandson, Jordan Thomas Petersen.  She is survived by her two sons, Robert Gregg Petersen II and wife Marie D Friend, Steven Bass Petersen and wife Denise, both of Little Rock.  Grandson Joseph Steven Petersen, wife Patience and great grandson Jaiden.  Granddaughters, Laura Taylor Burrow and Mary Katherine Burrow.  Grandson John Garrett Burrow, wife Kelsey and great grandsons Barney and Sebastian.  Brother-in-law Melvin Gillespie, nieces Mary Jane Huddleston (E. O.) and sons Michael and Chris, Becky Jeffery (Jerry, deceased) and son Scott, nephews John Huban, wife Sarah Marie and daughter Emma, and Andrew Gillespie, wife Jennifer and daughters Olivia and Emma.

     The family would like to thank the staff and caregivers at Presbyterian Village, as well as the staff and caregivers with Arkansas Hospice for the love and tenderness shown for Melba while under their care.

     In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to: First United Methodist Church Library Fund, 6701 John F Kennedy, North Little Rock, AR 72116 or Camp Aldersgate, 2000 Aldersgate Rd., Little Rock, AR  72205.

     A visitation will be held 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at First United Methodist Church in North Little Rock.  Memorial service will be held 10:00 A.M. Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at the church. Online obituary at

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May 7, 2019

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
First United Methodist Church (North Little Rock)

Memorial Service
May 8, 2019

10:00 AM
First United Methodist Church
6701 J.F.K. Blvd
North Little Rock, AR 72116

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