By Madge Cook Wylie
There are lots of people who live in Melba but they don’t consider themselves Melbans. There are lots of people who grew up in Melba but don’t care to share their roots.
Doug Parsons was always a true Melban even though he spent much of his life away from Melba in the military and in Boise in business.
His grandfather was well-known for his arrowhead collection. Almost everyone who ever lived in Melba has an arrowhead from him stapled onto a little piece of leather.
Also, memorable to me, was seeing the little old lady wearing a black dress and bonnet riding with Mr. Parsons in a buggy pulled by one horse to Melba on Sunday morning.
There are pictures of Mr. Parsons and his team of horses doing the final finishing on the approach to the car bridge across the Snake River at Walter’s Ferry in 1921.
Doug’s father, Don, was the local barber for a time along with farming his parents’ place. His mother, Gert, was a substitute mail carrier and taught 4-H sewing to all the girls from 8 to 18. And they were always pillars in the Melba Community Baptist Church.
Doug went through schools in Melba graduating high school in 1956. While still in school he joined the Idaho Air National Guard. He spent that 4th of July sitting on a foot locker in Parks Air Force Base, Hawthorne, CA learning Basic Instructions. After training on the Norden Bomb Sight and some more extensive training he rose from Airman 1st Class to Airman 2nd Class. During this time he married Ruth, had two kids, Dave and Deborah, and applied for Officer’s Candidate School. By that time he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and graduated OCS as a 2nd Lieutenant of the USAF.
His first introduction to wartime was during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. From then until 1971 he participated in flying missions all over the world. He flew his first mission to Saigon, South Vietnam in January 1963. After that he flew mission into Vietnam for 10 years. That was before we even knew where Vietnam was.The next training episode earned him ‘Top Gun Award’.
In 1973 he was transferred to Mountain Home AFB, Mt. Home, ID. After 20 years of active duty and 7000 hours of flying time, he retired with the rank of Major, moved to Nampa and then returned to the home place at Melba in 1985.
One thing in a man’s life is knowing that he has created something that he can show his kids and grandkids.
After a couple of years of retirement, Doug and Ruth bought the Boise Foundry. With the use of aluminum alloy, bronze alloy and some pewter they have produced plaques and saddle hardware. They made the grand sign over the Julia Davis Park, the Boise City logo “City of Trees” on the front of the Boise City hall and the Dedication Wall at Taco Bell Arena. Fifty years from now their grandchildren can drive through the City of Boise and view these memorable pieces of work. The most notable work he was proud of was a saddle horn for President George Bush’s saddle, along with some O-rings and D-rings. He made a 12-foot Dedication plaque at Lucky Peak, a plaque aboard the USS Boise and several subdivision signs. He also did restoration of downtown Boise light poles and restored the Egyptian Theatre chandeliers.
In 2006 he moved the Foundry to Melba and installed it in the old Loyd Coleman garage now owned by the Hannon’s and the Shelley Antique Shop next door. The most visible thing in Melba of his construction is the sign in front of the Melba Community Baptist Church.
Doug and Ruth jumped into the Olde Tyme Fourth of July committee soon after they moved to Melba. He served several terms as President and then they took on the chore of arranging the
renting and placement of the booths for the Fourth celebration. He was currently serving as secretary of the organization.
After so many years of serving, this year he was named Citizen of the Year, along with his wife, Ruth. At the last Historical meeting, when asked about his reaction and was he really surprised, Doug said, “I hate to see a grown man cry”. But that was his reaction.
He and Ruth were Charter Members of the new Melba Valley Historical Society, both serving on the Board of Trustees.
A person doesn’t often get to do things in his lifetime that will follow him. This year Doug was invited to deliver the main address at the Memorial Day program put on by the American Legion and the Cemetery board. It was a stirring speech about patriotism and impressing on us our privilege of being Americans. He talked about those who have died for their country and then he reminded us that we have family heroes who make true Americans of our children. He was truly a hero in the eyes of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He served his country for 20 years and then continued to make memories for his family in things that he had made in his trade.