Gardening 04

Melissa Dobbins Chambers

April 24, 2023 ~ December 10, 2023

Melissa Chambers Obituary

Melissa Dobbins Chambers, 92 of Champaign died peacefully at her home on Sunday, December 10, 2023.

Melissa was born to Barbara Burnham Harris and Ray Franklin Dobbins on April 24, 1931 in Champaign.

She and her husband, Jacob George Chambers were married at her parent’s home in White heath, Il on May 16, 1953.  They lived first in Sadorus and then moved to their farm in Farmer City, Il as their family grew. 

Melissa graduated in 1948 from Uni High in Urbana, Il.  She then studied at Stratford College in Danville, Virginia (art history & interior design) for 2 years, followed by one year enrolled in modern photography (NYC), she then found work in Champaign with Pelon Photography for 2 years. 

Melissa was the first of her sisters to wed in 1953.  They created a family of 6 with 4 children, all raised on their farm at Harris Station, near Farmer City. After their children graduated from high school, Melissa and Jake built their dream home at the “picnic place” in the tall oaks off the Sangamon River in Mahomet. Melissa used her talent with design & artistic flair with their Woodfield Estates Home.

Sadly, as the empty-nesters prepared to downsize and build another home in Champaign, Jake suddenly passed away, leaving Melissa to carry on independently back in her hometown. Melissa designed and decorated her current home which was again homebase for all of her family & friends.  Melissa was the consummate entertainer, hosting holidays and family occasions for decades in her home.   While raising her family, Melissa was an avid league golfer and bowler.   Her interest in photography, genealogy and gardening were her true passions.  She continually researched her own family as well as many other families. Her yard and garden were her pride and joy not only to her, but her neighbors/friends alike.

Melissa had many outside interests that she continually pursued.  She was always willing to learn and adapt and was forever on the cutting edge of technology.  Melissa was a member of many groups and organizations, proudly one of the longest standing members of Art Club, Champaign County Historical Society, Investment club, Ponds of Windsor Homeowners Association, OLLI member & Stitchers.

Melissa is survived by three of her children, Barbara Burnham Chambers (Tim Thompson) of LaQuinta, CA, Joseph Guy Chambers of Savoy, Il and Clare Elizabeth Chambers (Marty Ames) of Champaign, daughter in law, Deb Kopp Chambers of Champaign and many nieces and nephews. Melissa was preceded in death by her parents, Barbara and Ray Dobbins, two sisters, Barbara Ingram and Deborah Kodl and one son, Peter Jacob Chambers.

Final arrangements are being handled by Owens Funeral Home, 101. N. Elm Street, Champaign. Melissa requested no visitation or service. A private family burial at Grandview Memorial Gardens.  A celebration of life is being planned. 

The family wishes to thank the Transitions Hospice organization and Nurses Next Door for providing the loving care over the last couple of weeks. 

Donations may be made to the Champaign County History Museum or the donor’s choice.  



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Family to do services at later date


Champaign County History Museum
102 East University Avenue, Champaign IL 61820


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