In a remarkable feat that defies the norms of retirement, Melba Mebane, a proud Tyler resident, has called it a day on her remarkable 74-year career at Dillard’s. This incredible milestone was achieved at the ripe age of 90, leaving behind an awe-inspiring legacy of unwavering dedication and a strong belief in the power of service.
Mebane’s journey began back in 1949 as an elevator operator, where she swiftly climbed the ranks to eventually find her groove in the men’s clothing department. Yet, it was in the world of cosmetics that she left an indelible mark. Known for her infectious spirit and unmatched dedication, Mebane became synonymous with Dillard’s, capturing the hearts of both customers and colleagues.
James Saenz, the Dillard’s branch manager where Mebane spent her illustrious career, reflects on her profound impact, asking, “Can you imagine how many lives she touched, shaping minds and inspiring greatness?” Her influence stretched far beyond her job description, setting the bar high for customer service and leaving an enduring legacy that will be cherished by all who encountered her.
Beyond the walls of the department store, Mebane’s generosity and zest for life knew no bounds. Manufacturers were moved by her salesmanship and regularly sent her perfume bottles and samples. Ever the giver, she would even share these fragrant treasures at her local church, earning the affectionate nickname ‘the cosmetic bootlegger.’ Her infectious love for connecting with others and fostering a true sense of community is a testament to the kind of person Mebane is.
However, it was her unwavering faith and commitment that truly set her apart. Mebane’s advice to the younger generation echoes with wisdom: “Approach your work as a calling, not merely a means to a paycheck. Remain steadfast where God has planted you.” These guiding principles shaped her own journey, serving as a powerful reminder of the impact that can be made when faith and dedication intertwine.
As Melba Mebane embarks on a well-deserved chapter of rest, adventure, and savoring the pleasures of life, her departure from Dillard’s does not mark an end but rather a continuation of her profound influence. Her story stands as a testament to the enduring power of faith, joy, and love in shaping not only a career but an entire community. With gratitude and admiration, we salute Melba Mebane, a true Texan icon who has shown us the extraordinary potential of a life well-lived.