Woman retires from Dillard’s after over 70 years of service

Dillard’s in Tyler is saying goodbye to a longtime employee, and even that may be an understatement.
Published: Jun. 12, 2023 at 2:14 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV/Gray News) - A Dillard’s store in Texas is saying goodbye to a longtime employee, as she retires after nearly 74 years of service.

Melba Mebane, 90, started working at the department store in Tyler as an elevator operator in 1949. At that time, it wasn’t even called Dillard’s; that change took place in 1956. She also worked in the men’s clothing department and eventually stayed in cosmetics.

“I loved everybody there, and I loved to go to work every day,” she told KLTV.

“She really enjoyed the conversations with the people,” said Melba’s son, Terry Mebane.

But after more than seven decades, the 90-year-old decided to retire. Friends, family and coworkers gathered Saturday to celebrate her hard work and dedication.

“Most of the fellow employees had all retired, and it was kind of a new generation. So, she decided, ‘May be time to go do something fun,’” Terry Mebane said.

The vice president of Dillard’s, Drue Dillard Matheny, attended the party. She has known Melba Mebane for 65 years.

“She is the happiest, most ‘up’ person, gives so much service to the community. She’s made so many friends. I would come watch her in cosmetics and just go, ‘I wish I could be like that’ because she was incredible with people. Still is,” Matheny said.

Dillard’s awarded Melba Mebane with a certificate of excellence for being the longest-working employee there.

“We love you,” Matheny said. “You’ve been one of the most important people at Dillard’s for 70 years, and we love you and God bless you.”

As Melba Mebane enters the next chapter of her life, she says she plans to rest, travel and eat some good food.