Melba on a Caribbean cruise in 1982. Click for more.
Melba Josephine Walker Fisher, who had been the oldest living child of Placerita Canyon homesteaders Frank an Hortense Walker, died Thursday, Jan. 1. She was 98.
Melba was one of twelve children born to the Walkers on their ranch, said her son, George Starbuck. The ruins of the cabin in which she was born — it burned down in 1918 — can still be seen on the north side of Placerita Canyon Road about a mile east of the entrance to Placerita Canyon State Park. The park was once part of the Walker homestead property.
Park visitors might be familiar with the house in which Melba and her siblings subsequently spent their winters. Known today as the Walker Cabin, it's located off of the parking lot next to the Nature Center.
The following was written by George Starbuck, Gayle Starbuck and Walt Fisher:
Melba was born in this cabin in Placerita Canyon. Her mother and her sister Irene are shown. Click for more.
On January 1, 2015 Melba Walker Fisher passed away peacefully in her 99th year. Our mother came into this world July 2, 1916, on the Walker Ranch near the Placerita Nature Center. The sixth of twelve children born to Frank and Hortence Walker, she grew up tending the animals and gardens on the property.
There were many other duties the siblings were tasked to do. Frank Walker had many projects requiring hard manual labor: mining, road building, maintaining a constant water supply, milking the cows, preparing chickens for the Sunday dinner and a host of other responsibilities.
The most important of these responsibilities was tending to the younger brothers and sisters. Our mother learned the important lessons of raising her own children. The first of these children were George and Gayle Starbuck while married to George Starbuck Sr.
21-year-old Melba Walker in 1937. Click for more.
Her second marriage was to rancher Walter Fisher. She had two more children, Walt Jr. and Gay Rose. Her children produced a large family of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Our family gatherings were full of joy and fine food. Our mother was a wonderful cook and baked some beautiful cakes and pies. Mom was an avid gardener, loved music and flew the American flag from the front of the house on 8th Street in Newhall.
Mom was very active in her later years volunteering at the Senior Center. She was well known as the lady who walked through town visiting and having breakfast at the Way Station. She was also the subject of many interviews on the history of the Santa Clarita Valley. Much more of the story can be found on the Santa Clarita Valley History web site, scvhistory.com.
Our mother will be laid to rest at Eternal Valley on Thursday, Jan. 8, at 11 a.m., followed by a memorial service at noon at the Walker Cabin at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.