Remembering Jeri Claiborne Melancon

Jan. 3, 1960 – July 16, 2023

Springhill, LA

A memorial service celebrating the life of Jeri Claiborne Melancon, 63, was held at 1 pm. Saturday, July 29, 2023, at Springhill Methodist Church in Springhill, LA with the Rev. Terry Hughes, and Dr. Charles Payne officiating.

Jeri was born on January 3, 1960, in Wichita, KS to Jerry Arthur Claiborne and Peggy Madison Claiborne and peacefully entered into rest on Sunday, July 16, 2023, in Dallas, TX with her family by her side. Jeri was a 1978 graduate of Parkway High School in Bossier City, LA and a 1982 graduate of Centenary College in Shreveport where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education. Jeri loved teaching and began her 30-year career in education as a Kindergarten teacher at Vivian Elementary School in 1982. In October of that same year, she married her loving husband of 41 years, Derek Edward Melancon, and they then moved to Springhill, LA where they would live and raise their three children, Aubrey, Jerrod, and Seth.  Jeri continued her education, receiving her master’s degree in counseling from LA Tech and served as the school counselor at Brown Middle School in Springhill prior to her receiving her Principal’s Certification from LA Tech. She subsequently served as the Principal at Howell Elementary in Springhill until its closing. From there she continued her leadership role as the principal of multiple Minden area schools until her retirement in 2012. Jeri loved the children she taught and touched so many young lives in a positive way.   After her retirement from teaching, Jeri went on to receive her Real Estate License and LA Notary Public which would lead to her next career in 2016 when she began working as a Legal Assistant for one of her former students, Stuart McMahen, then an attorney at Bell & Boyd Law Firm and currently Springhill City Judge. She loved working with Stuart and continued to do so throughout her illness. She considered him as one of her children and took great pride in her job with him. Jeri was also very involved in many civic activities during her lifetime, including the Girl Scouts, Children’s Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, and the Springhill Jaycees. She won many local and state awards for the projects that the Jaycees sponsored in Springhill and was very proud to serve her community.

Jeri was a devout Christian and her love for the Lord never waivered up to her last breath. She loved her family with all her heart and placed no one other than the Lord above them. Jeri was most proud of how her children grew to be successful and caring adults. When she became a grandmother, a new chapter in her life began. She loved being Nonnie to her four grandchildren and was so excited for the fifth one on the way.  She loved and adored each of them and they loved her.  

Jeri was preceded in death by her mother, Peggy Madison Claiborne.

She is survived by her husband of 41 years, Derek Edward Melancon of Springhill, LA; her 3 children, Aubrey Leigh Melancon of Springhill, LA, Jerrod Arthur Melancon and wife Samantha of Splendora, TX, and Seth Alexander Melancon and wife Nikki of Haughton, LA; 5 grandchildren, Wade, Mason, and soon to be born Charlotte Melancon and Raelynn and Evelynne Melancon; her father, Jerry Arthur Claiborne and wife Kim of Marshall TX; sisters, Stacy Claiborne Day of Bossier City, LA, and Katherine Claiborne-Clark and husband Adam of Marshall, TX; and brothers, Randall Lloyd Claiborne and wife Pam of Bossier City, LA and Kamphi Claiborne of Marshall, TX; and a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The family would like to express their gratitude to her physician’s, nurses, and staff who provided their loving and compassionate care for Jeri during her illness.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Fuller Center of Webster