June 17, 1915 ~ September 21, 2007
Melanie A. Weller, born June 17, 1915 in New Braunfels, Texas to William Charles Ahrens and Paula Pfeiffer Ahrens, died peacefully Friday, September 21st, 2007 at her home in Austin, Texas. Melanie’s father, a reporter for the New Braunfels Zeitung newspaper, traveled the Hill Country communities chronicling the news and activities of the residents throughout the region united by their German heritage and close family ties. After her father’s accidental shotgun death when Melanie was only 4 years old, her mother was determined to keep her four children together and worked from her home in order to support her young family. Her mother’s tenacity and stubborn nature were transferred to her daughter, Melanie. Encouraged by Marvin, her oldest brother, Melanie refused to leave school after the eighth grade to work at Mission Valley Mills as her siblings had done. She was the only one able to complete her education at New Braunfels High School, graduating third in her class.
After graduation Melanie moved to Boerne, having been hired by an insurance company and as a companion to Adele Wendler, whose sons had left for college at Texas A&M. Mrs. Wendler and her sons, Henry and Clifford, became a loving surrogate family to Melanie, a relationship that remained to the end of Melanie’s life. Melanie relocated to the San Antonio office of her employer during World War II. San Antonio was a fun and exciting place for a single young woman during the war years. Introduced to the Episcopal Church by the Wendlers, Melanie became an active member of St. Mark’s Church and maintained a life-long love of Episcopal traditions.
In 1947 Melanie met Edgar Weller, a dashing young tennis player and attorney. Their first date, a football game between The University of Texas and Rice University at Memorial Stadium in Austin, was the first of many Longhorn football games they would attend during their 55 years of marriage. Melanie and Edgar married on August 28, 1948 in Austin at the University Methodist Church where Edgar’s grandparents had been charter members. Almost immediately they moved to Dallas where Edgar joined his brother, Cyrus B. Weller, and brother-in-law, Stoney M. Stubbs, at Frozen Food Express, a fledgling refrigerated trucking company. As Edgar rose through the corporate ranks of the company, Melanie was his devoted wife, superb hostess and party-giver, enthusiastic cheerleader, and steadfast best friend. Edgar and Melanie were honored by the Texas Motor Transportation Association in 1996 for their dedication and unending support of the TMTA Foundation, which provides scholarships to the children of trucking company employees, and in 1999 they received a Lifetime Achievement award for their contributions to TMTA. When Edgar retired as President and Chairman of the Board in 1984, FFE Industries, Inc., was the largest publicly-owned, temperature-controlled carrier of perishable goods on the North American continent.
Melanie was an avid (some might say rabid) bridge player and an exquisite needlepoint enthusiast as her innate tenacity drove her to excellence in all that she attempted. After their move to Dallas, Melanie was invited by a group of young women to join a Duplicate Bridge Club which met one Thursday each month for over fifty years, creating truly life-long friendships. For many years Melanie hosted the Duplicate Club at an annual three to four day bridge-fest at the Wellers’ home in Lakeway. Melanie was a driving force in the formation of the Needlepoint Guild at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. She designed most of the tapestries covering the chairs, kneelers and cushions throughout the nave and sanctuary of the church and dedicated herself to making sure all the needlework was as perfect as possible. In 1968 the Good Shepherd rector honored her as “Archangel of the Calloused Needlers (sic).” Her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and those of many of her friends still enjoy the intricate, personalized Christmas stockings and sorority and fraternity crests she lovingly designed and stitched.
Melanie and Edgar raised two daughters, Lucy and Sarah, and were delighted when both received degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. Throughout their marriage, and especially during their retirement years, Melanie and Edgar traveled extensively often combining business and pleasure trips with their many friends in the trucking industry. However, the very best trips were those involving tennis – Wimbledon in England, The French Open in Paris and annual trips to New York City for the US Open. A family highlight was the celebration of Edgar and Melanie’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1998 at the US Open accompanied by their daughters and son-in law. In 2002 as Edgar’s health was declining, the Wellers moved to Austin, living independently at the Summit at Westlake Hills. Moving to Austin seemed a natural progression and completion of a wonderful circle of life as they had maintained several second homes in Austin since 1972. Melanie continued to reside at the Summit following Edgar’s death on April 23, 2003.
To honor their shared love for tennis and for The University of Texas, the Wellers established the Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Charitable Remainder Trust which will provide major funding for the Edgar O. Weller & Melanie A. Weller Tennis Center, an indoor tennis facility currently being developed by The University of Texas at Austin.
Melanie was predeceased by her parents; her husband; her brother and sister, William Texas Ahrens and Etelva “Red” Ahrens Kneeskern; and her beloved brother, Marvin Charles “Spike” Ahrens. She is survived by her daughters, Lucy W. Fielder of Lockhart and Sarah M. Daniel and husband, Arthur Lee Daniel, Jr. of El Paso; her granddaughters, Kiirstin L. Daniel of Los Angeles, CA and Frances E. Fielder of Durango, CO; her sister-in-law, Elaine Ahrens Gaskins of New Braunfels; dear friend-for-life, Clifford Wendler of Boerne; and many special nieces and nephews from the “Weller side.”
The family wishes to acknowledge the kindness and consideration of the staff of the Summit at Westlake Hills, the wonderful companions who cared for Melanie, and especially the loving care and devotion of Lupe Gonzalez.
A memorial celebration will be held Sunday. September 30th, 2007 at 2 PM. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Dallas, with a reception following in the Parish Hall. Melanie’s cremated remains will be interred beside those of her dear Edgar in the Columbarium of the Church.
In lieu of floral offerings the family requests memorial gifts to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Memorial Fund, 11122 Midway Road, Dallas, TX 75229; the Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame, 1108 S. University Parks Drive, Waco, TX 76706; the TMTA Foundation, 700 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701; or Hospice Austin, 4107 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin, TX 78759. To leave a note for the family or to share a story about Melanie, please visit www.meadowlawn.net and select Obituaries. Arrangements by Meadowlawn Crematory and American Mortuary, San Antonio, Texas. 210-661-3991.
Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle